Montenegro’s telecoms watchdog the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (EKIP) has opened a consultation regarding its draft plans for the upcoming tender of frequencies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands for use by public mobile electronic communications networks.
Since the regulator is legally required to initiate an auction to reallocate existing radio frequencies no later than six months before expiry of the user rights, it has decided to stage a single auction procedure to tender a total of 220MHz of spectrum (2×90MHz of paired and 40MHz of unpaired) in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands. Under EKIP’s provisional schedule, the spectrum auction will be held in November 2021, with ‘issuance of decision on the selection of bidders’ 30 days after completion of the auction, and approvals granted 45 days from ‘date of issuance of the decision on selection of bidders’.
The public bidding procedure of awarding the approvals for the use of radio frequencies in the bands will be conducted by means of the spectrum auction in the combined format of adjusted multi-round sequential bidding (clock auction) and adjusted single-round bidding through sealed bids (sealed-bid auction). Eligible applicants are required to pay a one-off fee of EUR30,000 (USD35,300) for participation in the spectrum auction.
900MHz band: two blocks of 2×5MHz (B1 and B2, 880MHz-885MHz/925MHz-930MHz and 885MHz-890MHz/930MHz-935MHz), reserved for incumbent mobile operators and valid from 21 April 2022 to 1 September 2031. Both blocks will be subject to award in the pre-auction phase at a reserve price per block of EUR946,000, failing which they will be sold in the main auction phase.
1800MHz band: four blocks of 2×5MHz (C12 to C15, 1765MHz-1770MHz/1860MHz-1865MHz, 1770MHz-1775MHz/1865MHz-1870MHz, 1775MHz-1780MHz/1870MHz-1875MHz and 1780MHz-1785MHz/1875MHz-1880MHz), reserved for incumbent mobile operators, valid from 21 April 2022 to 1 September 2031 and subject to award in the pre-auction phase at a reserve price of EUR440,000 per block.
2GHz band: four blocks of 2×5MHz, comprising block D1, 1920MHz-1925MHz/2110MHz-2115MHz (valid from the date of approval issuance to 1 September 2031 and subject to award in the main auction phase with a reserve price of EUR406,000) and blocks D2-D4 (1925MHz-1930MHz/2115MHz-2120MHz, 1930MHz-1935 MHz/2120 MHz-2125MHz and 1935MHz-1940MHz/2125MHz-2130MHz), reserved for incumbent mobile operators, valid from 21 April 2022 until 1 September 2031 and subject to award in the pre-auction phase, unless they remain unallocated, with a reserve price of EUR406,000 per block.
2.6GHz band (paired): eight blocks of 2×5MHz (F7 to F14, 2530MHz-2535MHz/2650MHz-2655MHz, 2535MHz-2540MHz /2655MHz-2660MHz, 2540MHz-2545MHz/2660MHz-2665MHz, 2545MHz-2550MHz/2665MHz-2670MHz, 2550MHz-2555MHz/2670MHz-2675MHz, 2555MHz-2560MHz/2675MHz-2680MHz, 2560MHz-2565MHz/2680MHz-2685MHz, 2565MHz-2570MHz/2685MHz-2690MHz), valid from the date of approval issuance until 1 September 2031 and subject to award in the main auction phase with a reserve price of EUR200,000 per block.
2.6GHz band (unpaired): eight blocks of 5MHz bandwidth (G1 to G8, 2570MHz-2575MHz, 2575MHz-2580MHz, 2580MHz-2585MHz, 2585MHz-2590MHz, 2590MHz-2595MHz, 2595MHz-2600MHz, 2600MHz-2605MHz, 2605MHz-2610MHz), valid from the date of issuance until 1 September 2031 and with a reserve price of EUR55,000 per unpaired block, all subject to the award in the main auction phase.
In terms of coverage obligations, in the 900MHz band incumbent operators will be required to provide voice and SMS services to 99% of the population by 1 September 2022, while new entrants will be obliged to cover 25% of the population by the end of the second year of approval validity, 50% by the end of the third year and 75% by the end of the fifth year. In the 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, meanwhile, incumbent operators will be obliged to provide 75% of the population with the network signal by 1 September 2022, while new entrants will be required to ensure 15% population coverage by the end of the second year of issuance of approval validity, 30% within three years and 50% by the end of the fifth year. New entrants will obliged to start using the approved radio frequencies and providing public services to end users within one year from the date of entry into force of the approval for the use of the frequencies.
Rights holders will be subject to a spectrum cap of a combined 2×30MHz in the 800MHz and 900MHz bands, 2×30MHz in the 1800MHz band, 2×40MHz in the 2.6GHz (only for paired spectrum) and 2×105MHz across all five bands (only for paired spectrum).