The 5G auction will start in July with a starting price of 995.5 million

Antonio Ramirez Cerezo

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The operators already know the conditions and the date of the auction of the 700 MHz spectrum, one of the priority bands for the deployment of 5G. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation published yesterday the order of bases, after several months of delay, and finally set the bid before July 21.

Now it is the ‘telecos’ who have to move, since they must send their candidatures and the corresponding documentation before July 2 at 1:00 p.m. Then the adjudication table will analyze the applications and decide who can access the tender before July 12. The auction will take place over the internet, using an electronic auction platform. Before July 19, a training session will be held on the use of it for the companies that finally participate.

And total, sand they will tender seven concessions: four will correspond to two 2×10 MHz blocks and two 2×5 MHz blocks, in the paired band 703-733 and 758-788 MHz for upstream and downstream communications. In addition, three concessions will be tendered in the 738-753 MHz band, each of which will assign the use of a 5 MHz block for downstream communications only. The specification also specifies that all the concessions are state-wide, “given the strategic importance of this frequency band, the extensive territorial coverage it provides, the need to guarantee efficient use of the spectrum, and the purpose of avoiding an irregular deployment and fragmented”.

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Last December, the draft conditions for this auction were submitted to public consultation and peer review by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) of the European Union.

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Among the changes within the definitive statement published yesterday, with respect to the draft, the final price of the set of frequency blocks stands out, which has been set at 995.5 million euros, 15% less than the initial proposal of the ministry of Nadia Calviño (1,170 million).

A descent that comes after the pressure of the operators, which, as ABC advanced, showed their disagreement with the initial price as well as with the single payment for each frequency block or the coverage obligations to populations with more than 50,000 inhabitants during the three years following the award.

What does change is the concession of spectrum frequencies, which will last for at least 20 years extendable for a further 20 years. A condition that the Government already approved last April.

Regarding the coverage obligations, the specific municipalities, airports, ports, railway stations and highways to which the operators must extend the coverage with each concession have been included in the list. In this sense, the specifications reveal that the operators that take over one of the blocks in the 2x5MHz band will have to cover 100% of the populations of more than 50,000 inhabitants before June 30, 2025, one more year of term than that set by the public consultation. Already in 2022 they will have to give 30% of them.

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