Saturday 3 October 2020

Austria Gets New 5G Spectrum

The Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) announced the latest round of spectrum auction results last month.  

5G Observatory provides more details here:

In September 2020, the Austrian regulator RTR finally completed the delayed multi-band 5G auction. RTR had to postpone the auction due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The second 5G auction in Austria awarded frequencies in the 700 MHz, 1,500 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, raising 202 million EUR. In March 2019, 3.4- 3.8GHz spectrum was auctioned to seven successful bidders generating 188 million EUR.

27 blocks were up for sale, including six blocks in the 700MHz band, twelve in the 2100MHz range and nine in the 1500MHz band.

T-Mobile Austria paid 87 million EUR for 2×20MHz of 700MHz spectrum, 20MHz in the 1500MHz band and 2×15MHz of 2100MHz spectrum. A1 Telekom will pay 66 million EUR for 30MHz of frequencies in the 1500MHz band and 2×25MHz in the 2100MHz range. The incumbent player did not get 700 MHz spectrum. Hutchison Drei won 2×10MHz of 700MHz spectrum, 30MHz in the 1500MHz band and 2×20MHz of 2100MHz frequencies for a total of 50 million EUR.

The government aims to deploy 5G on main traffic routes by the end of 2023 and to reach “virtually nationwide” 5G coverage by the end of 2025. 700 MHz licences will include coverage of 80% of 2,100 underserved communities with download speeds of 30 Mbps and 3 Mbps for upload by 2027, and 90% of federal and state roads should get at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads.

Back in March 2019, Austria awarded 20-year 3.4-3.8 GHz licences to the three national mobile incumbents and to four regional players for a total of 188 million EUR. Amounts raised are significantly lower than those reached in Italy.

For 100 to 140 MHz in all regions, A1 paid 64.3 million EUR. T-Mobile won 100 MHz in all regions for 56.9 million EUR. Hutchison Drei got 100 MHz in all regions and paid 51.9 million EUR.

Four regional players (Mass Response, Liwest, Salzburg AG, Holding Graz) secured between 30 and 80 MHz of spectrum in one or two regions.

Liwest bought 80 MHz for both Linz and Upper Austria for 5.3 million EUR. Salzburg AG paid 4.4 million EUR for 80 MHz of spectrum in the regions of Salzburg city and Salzburg state (80 MHz) and 40 MHz in Styria. Holding Graz paid almost 3 million EUR for a 50 MHz licence in Graz and a 40 MHz one in Styria. The MVNO Mass Response acquired 30 MHz of spectrum for the Lower Austria and Burgenland region for 1.8 million EUR.

The three national operators must build at least 300 base stations nationwide before the end of 2020.

Frankly, some of the new bands could also be used for 4G if the operator so wishes but it may not be worth deploying 4G when 5G deployments have started in earnest. 

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