Lithuania’s Communications Regulatory Authority (Rysiu Reguliavimo Tarnyba, RRT) has issued a statement on its preliminary plans for auctioning 5G frequencies, tentatively scheduling a sale of spectrum including the 700MHz band for the first quarter of 2021. The RRT highlighted that its schedule must take into account the ongoing sale process of MEZON, the retail broadband and IPTV business of state-owned Lithuanian Radio & Television Centre (LRTC, also known as Telecentras), having received requests from operators to postpone spectrum auctions until the transaction is completed. In August, Lithuania’s Competition Council received an application from mobile operator Bite seeking approval for the acquisition of MEZON.
The RRT also noted that in the meantime it has allocated 3.5GHz band 5G spectrum on a temporary, non-commercial basis to cellco Telia Lietuva for testing (see separate CommsUpdate article today, 11 November 2020), whilst stressing that spectrum allocated via the eventual 5G licence auction(s) will be technology-neutral, allowing joint 4G/5G development as appropriate. Regarding 26GHz mmWave 5G spectrum, the RRT said that an auction for this band will be announced ‘when it is clear whether there is market demand.’
RRT Deputy Director Mindaugas Zilinskas noted additionally: ‘Lithuania, as a border country, due to its special geographical position, faces the biggest additional challenges in preparing for the arrival of 5G – we must coordinate our spectrum resources with neighbouring countries, pay great attention to the protection of our state’s interests. To our knowledge, all operators are actively preparing for the smoothest and fastest possible emergence of new technology in Lithuania. Tests of 5G technology, measurements of radio signals from base stations will provide additional arguments in negotiations with the administrations of neighbouring countries.’