The government of the Netherlands has invited applications from domestic and foreign companies to participate in the 5G auction expected to take place in June this year. Government agency Agentschap Telecom, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy, announced on 6 March that operators have until 6 April to submit their applications for the multi-round auction for mobile frequencies in the 700MHz, 1400MHz and 2100MHz spectrum bands, while State Secretary for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer published the final auction regulations (see link below for full details).
Reserve spectrum bid prices are set at a total of EUR900 million (USD1.016 billion), and 700MHz licences carry a network coverage requirement of 98% of the surface area of each Dutch municipality within two years alongside specific minimum speed standards (including minimum 8Mbps at the ‘worst points’ of networks) aimed at a national average mobile data speed above 100Mbps. An individual spectrum cap of 40% of total available frequencies will be applied; this cap includes current licences held by incumbent Dutch cellcos, a measure aimed at ensuring at least three 5G providers. During the auction, the Ministry will inform participants about the total number of frequencies requested per band to allow bidders to better determine what they want to offer themselves. Initial applications must be accompanied by a bank guarantee/deposit of EUR35.28 million.
In line with EU agreements, the Netherlands intends to carry out the multi-band auction before 30 June 2020. The government is targeting a 3.5GHz 5G frequency auction in early 2022.