AEK extends 5G consultation deadline

20 Feb 2020

The Agency for Electronic Communications (AEK) has extended the deadline for interested parties to submit their comments regarding the award of 5G frequencies in North Macedonia to 20 April (previously 6 March), after Makedonski Telekom (Telekom) and A1 Macedonia (Vip) requested an extension. The regulator, which is planning to initially award 5G-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz bands in the second half of 2020 (with other bands scheduled to be allocated in case of interest), earlier this month invited all market participants to provide their input regarding the terms and conditions of the spectrum auction, the demand for spectrum, the optimal way of allocating the airwaves, and a deadline consistent with the operators’ return on investment. The AEK proposes to reserve 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band and 100MHz in the 3.6GHz band for a new network operator, with a lower one-time fee and coverage obligations. Regarding the 700MHz airwaves, the regulator noted that there is an ongoing migration to the second-generation digital video broadcasting-terrestrial (DVB-T2) standard which should be completed by mid-2020, vacating the band for telecoms use. The AEK will award 2×10MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band per operator, while it plans to distribute 300MHz in the 3.6GHz band (100MHz per operator) nationally and 68.5MHz regionally. When allocating spectrum in the two bands, the AEK is planning to prescribe a number of conditions, including territorial coverage (at least one city covered by 5G by the end of 2023 and all cities covered with uninterrupted 5G signal by 2027) and population coverage (all citizens to be provided 5G access with minimum downlink of 100Mbps by 2029).