Nkom finalises terms for upcoming 5G spectrum auction

10 Jun 2021

Norway’s National Communications Authority (Nasjonal kommunikasjonsmyndighet, Nkom) has published the final terms for its upcoming auction of 5G-suitable spectrum in the 2.6GHz and 3.6GHz bands.

In a presentation released as part of online briefing regarding the auction plans, the Nkom confirmed that a registration deadline of 31 August 2021 has been set for companies seeking to take part in the sale process. With the auction itself to get underway on 27 September 2021, the regulator also confirmed that spectrum allocations in the 3.6GHz band will be useable from 1 January 2022, while 2.6GHz allocations can be used from 1 January 2023. According to the Nkom, the auction will be a three-stage process, with the first stage determining how much spectrum winning bidders will receive, and the second determining the location of each allocation. A third stage will then offer winning bidders the opportunity to decide whether they wish to take on a voluntary coverage obligation in return for a discount on the cost of their concession; these coverage obligations must be fulfilled by 30 June 2025.

A total of 590MHz across the two bands is being made available. In the 2.6GHz band, 2×70MHz of FDD spectrum and 50MHz of TDD spectrum is up for grabs, with the latter being offered as a single continuous block, while the former will be divided into 14 lots of 2×5MHz. With regards to the 3.6GHz band, a total of 400MHz is to be offered, and will be divided into four 40MHz blocks and 24 10MHz blocks.

Also of note, meanwhile, as part of its presentation the Nkom proposed opening up the 3.8GHz-4.2GHz spectrum band for local 5G networks. Having launched a consultation on this matter – with a deadline of 30 August 2021 set for feedback – the regulator said it plans to grant two different types of licences for local networks, those being: a low-power licence intended for local private mobile networks; and a high-power permit intended for the provision of services such as fixed-wireless broadband in larger outdoor areas, including industrial parks and harbours.