5G public consultation launched ahead of May auction

6 Dec 2019

The government of the Netherlands yesterday (5 December 2019) launched a public consultation on the draft plan for the country’s 700MHz/1400MHz/2100MHz 5G spectrum auction scheduled for May 2020. The government aims for at least three 5G licensees, with an individual 40% spectrum cap, including existing frequency holdings. Proposed minimum licence bids total EUR900 million (USD998 million) while the draft rules say winners of 700MHz (2×10MHz) 5G licences must achieve 98% area coverage of all municipalities nationwide with a minimum mobile data speed of 8Mbps within two years of receiving the frequencies. Comments on the draft auction regulations and licence conditions will be accepted for six weeks.

The 3.5GHz 5G band is expected to be auctioned in early 2022 and available for commercial usage by September that year, although the frequencies in the north of the country must first be relinquished by the intelligence services, which use them for a satellite communication interception station. The government says its proposal to move the station to another European country by mid-2022 is feasible ‘in principle’.

In related news, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs published a ‘general administrative order’ on 5 December (see link) following an investigation into 5G network security. The order refers to potential measures to ban ‘unreliable suppliers’ from critical parts of telecom networks. Full details of such measures are yet to be decided on, however.