Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has still not decided how many licences will be awarded in the much-delayed auction of 3.5GHz (3410MHz-3800MHz) spectrum. The issue will not be settled until an amendment to the Electronic Communications Act is passed which will ban the use of equipment from suppliers from non-democratic countries. This will rule out systems from vendors such as Huawei and ZTE of China. Estonia’s parliament, the Riigikogu, is set to vote on the security amendments later this month. Laura Laaster, a spokesperson for the ministry, is cited by ERR as saying: ‘We can talk about the number of permits once the security regulation has been adopted.’
The 3.5GHz auction had previously been derailed due to legal proceedings. Estonia’s Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (Tarbijakaitse ja Tehnilise Jarelevalve Amet, TTJA) originally announced the sale of three 3.5GHz licences in early 2019. The planned auction was cancelled in April that year, however, after IoT and wireless internet provider Levikom challenged the decision to only award three concessions, saying that the move favoured the three incumbent cellcos and would hamper competition. When the TTJA said in June 2020 that it planned to rejig the sale to include four permits, operators complained that they would be left with insufficient spectrum to support a full speed 5G network.