Four bidders buy wireless frequency bands for EUR 164m

Ljubljana – The Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) concluded on Friday a wireless spectrum auction as part of which it also offered frequency bands for 5G mobile networks. It has fetched EUR 164.2 million as all four bidders – A1 Slovenija, Telekom Slovenije, Telemach and T-2 – have been awarded frequency bands.

In the long-awaited second wireless spectrum auction, AKOS offered spectrum in the 700 MHz, 1,500 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,600 MHz and 26 GHz bands. A portion of the 700 MHz, 3,600 MHz and 26 GHz bands was dedicated to 5G.

The agency said at today’s press conference that all bands had been sold to four Slovenian mobile providers – A1 Slovenija, Telekom Slovenije, Telemach and T-2.

Telekom Slovenije, the telecoms incumbent, paid EUR 52.1 million for the frequency bands, followed by Telemach (EUR 51.6 million), A1 (EUR 42.4 million) and T-2 (EUR 18.2 million). The operators have 15 days to transfer the money, the agency said.

Spectrum in the 700 MHz, 700 MHz, 1,500 MHz, 3,600 MHz and 26 GHz bands will be available immediately, spectrum in the 2,100 MHz will be available as of 22 September, and spectrum in the 2,300 MHz band as of 1 January 2022.

All bands are intended for providing mobile services to end users and are technologically neutral. They have been awarded for 15 years, with the possibility of extension for another five years in case of legislative changes.

The agency expects to allocate the frequencies by the middle of 2021, whereupon operators must put them to use within a year in at least one major town.

Within five years, wireless services within the entire awarded spectrum will have to be available to end users at least in all major towns.

The administrative costs of the public auction stood at EUR 678,700 and will be covered by all bidders equally.

Telekom Slovenije said that the acquired frequency spectrum would enable it to continue with its planned development, while A1 Slovenija said that it had managed to secure a share of mobile frequencies that exceeded its market share.

The Austrian-owned A1 added that this gave it a lot of room for growth on the Slovenian market of telecommunication services with the concurrent introduction of 5G technology.