State Secretary confirms 3.5GHz 5G auction will be delayed

6 Sep 2021

The Netherlands’ State Secretary for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer has told the House of Representatives that the planned auction for 3.5GHz 5G mobile frequency licences will be delayed due to the ongoing legal dispute with satellite operator Inmarsat which uses the spectrum band for international emergency/safety communications services. A government target of completing the 3.5GHz auction by April 2022 – with a view to making the 5G mobile band useable nationwide in September that year – will be pushed back for an unknown length of time.

Dutch news site Nu.nl cites Ms Keijzer’s letter to parliament as saying that Inmarsat has indicated its willingness to work towards a solution with the government, whilst an independent advisory committee is expected to begin work in October and to issue advice on the matter in the first quarter of 2022. The State Secretary noted: ‘The exact duration of the auction delay depends, among other things, on the advice of the independent advisory committee.’

A judge ruled in June that Inmarsat does not have to move its satellite ground station in Burum, northern Netherlands, for the time being, as international agreements regarding the station outweigh the government’s aims to free up the 3.5GHz spectrum for faster wireless internet services.

Netherlands, Inmarsat, Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy (MEACP)