Legal battle still holding up Estonian 5G auction

23 Jan 2020

The distribution of 5G spectrum in Estonia is still on hold following the latest legal challenge against the terms of the planned auction. Last month the Circuit Court in Tallinn upheld a decision by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM) to offer three 5G licences in the 3400MHz-3800MHz band.

The Ministry was forced to postpone the auction in March 2019 when fixed-wireless and IoT operator Levikom challenged the terms, saying that offering just three concessions would hamper competition by favouring the trio of incumbent cellcos. Levikom has now appealed last month’s court ruling, taking the matter to the country’s Supreme Court. Levikom wants a mix of national and regional licences to be made available, allowing smaller players like itself to enter the 5G market.

The matter has been confused by reports that Levikom is behind with its tax payments, meaning it could well have been barred from participating in the 5G auction process anyway.

Eesti Rahvusringhaaling (ERR) cites ministry spokesperson Laura Laaster as saying: ‘The court dispute has no doubt slowed down the process of issuing frequency permits and consequently the development of 5G networks. At the same time, we cannot say Estonia has fallen far behind other countries.’