Estonia revises 5G sale to include fourth licence

4 Jun 2020

Estonia’s IT minister has moved to get the country’s 5G spectrum auction back on track after it was cancelled due to legal action. In February 2019 telecoms watchdog the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (Tarbijakaitse ja Tehnilise Jarelevalve Amet, TTJA) announced an auction for three licences in the 3.6GHz (3410MHz-3800MHz) band for future 5G services. A reserve price of EUR1.597 million (USD1.8 million) was set per licence, with 130MHz of TDD frequencies available under each concession. The country’s trio of cellcos – Telia, Elisa and Tele2 – signalled their intent to take part in the auction, but the sale was derailed a month later following a legal challenge by wireless ISP Levicom, which said the auction favoured the incumbents and should have included a fourth licence to allow for the entry of a new player.

IT minister Raul Siem has now proposed that the auction be expanded to include a fourth permit. A statement from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (Majandus ja Kommunikatsiooni Ministeerium, MKM) cites the Minister as saying that this move would encourage competition while also helping to ensure the efficient use of frequency resources. ‘We need to keep the market open to as many new developments and providers as possible. This helps to ensure a sustainable and diverse choice of services even in today’s significantly changed economic environment,’ Siem said. Applications for the revised auction are open until 18 June.