Regulator confirms DIGI ruled out of 5G bidding

29 Nov 2019

Hungarian regulator the National Media & Infocommunications Authority (Nemzeti Media- es Hirkozlesi Hatosag, NMHH) has reiterated its decision to exclude DIGI from the bidding process for 5G mobile spectrum, although the announcement on the watchdog’s website yesterday confirmed that the company may appeal in court. A preliminary ruling in September barred Romanian-backed DIGI for failing to meet bidding requirement whilst naming registered bidders as the country’s three leading cellcos, Deutsche Telekom-backed Magyar Telekom, UK-owned Vodafone Hungary and Telenor Hungary, controlled by the Czech-backed PPF fund. The NMHH has declined to elaborate on the reasons for the decision so far. The 5G (700MHz, 2100MHz, 2600MHz and 3600MHz) tender, announced in June, was originally expected to be completed by end-October, but has been delayed.

TeleGeography notes that DIGI – part of the Digi Communications group – is well-established in Hungary as the second largest fixed broadband network operator behind Magyar Telekom, and it launched its 3G/4G mobile network in May this year aiming at bundled services with an initial free mobile services model, signing up 72,000 users by end-September. Furthermore, this month DIGI followed the lead of larger rival Vodafone by announcing a 5G base station pilot using existing 3.4GHz-3.8GHz spectrum.

The NMHH’s latest disclosure said: ‘In the second instance, the chairman of the NMHH upheld the results of the formal investigation into the 5G frequency sale after Digi Communications NV appealed against the decision. The company may seek legal redress from the courts.’