Slovakia’s Office for Regulation of Electronic Communications & Postal Services (Regulacny Urad, RU) is planning to push ahead with an auction of 5G-capable spectrum in order to comply with an EU deadline. The EU requires member states to have allocated spectrum in the 700MHz band by 30 June 2020 and the RU recently announced a sale of licences in this band along with spare 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies. While some countries have postponed spectrum auctions during the COVID-19 crisis, Zive.sk cites the Slovak regulator as saying that it will stick with its timetable in order to meet the EU target. Operators have until 25 May to apply to take part in the auction.
Local cellcos are, however, calling on the regulator to reduce some of the financial burden on winning bidders. A spokesperson for market leader Orange is quoted as saying: ‘In the current crisis related to the coronavirus pandemic, we consider it important to set the most flexible terms in terms of payment per licence, given that operators’ funds will be under pressure from crisis management measures at the same time.’ Smallest player 4ka, meanwhile, has said it would welcome a postponement and a change to the terms of the auction, with the regulator awarding spectrum to cellcos at minimum prices to ensure the rapid deployment of 5G services.