ComReg consults on potential issue of short-term spectrum rights in 700MHz/2100MHz bands

24 Aug 2022

Ireland’s Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has launched a consultation on a proposal to issue short-term licences for spectrum in the 700MHz and 2100MHz, as it seeks to avoid ‘significant consumer disruption’. With existing concessions in these bands scheduled to expire in October 2022, the regulator had hoped to have concluded a planned multi-band spectrum auction of 700MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies prior to that date. However, last month the High Court issued a stay order preventing the auction from proceeding, following an appeal against the regulator’s plans for the sale process by local cellco Three Ireland.

Now, with a view to ensuring the auction delay does not impact consumers, ComReg has proposed putting in place a short-term (up to six months) licensing framework for 700MHz and 2100MHz frequencies from 2 October 2022. In terms of proposed fees, the regulator intends to charge EUR401,000 per 2×5MHz block in the 700MHz band for a three-month period and EUR212,000 for the same size block of 2100MHz spectrum. Further, as part of an accelerated consultation process, it is calling for input from interested parties by 31 August 2022, while it envisages issuing a final decision and final draft regulations by mid-September 2022.