Spain launches 3.6GHz-3.8GHz 5G auction process

29 May 2018

Spain’s Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda (Ministerio de Energia, Turismo y Agenda Digital, MINETAD) has initiated the auction process for 200MHz of spectrum in the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band, which it says will be used to help operators deploy 5G wireless technology. The spectrum will be divided into 40 5MHz blocks, each of which will have a starting price of EUR2.5 million (USD2.9 million), meaning that the process will generate a minimum of EUR100 million.

Interested parties have been asked to register their participation by 29 June, and bidding for the concessions – each of which will be valid for a period of 20 years – is expected to commence no later than 20 July. Orange Espana – which acquired a 2×20MHz block of 3.5GHz spectrum in 2016 – will be subject to a spectrum cap of 80MHz for this auction, in order to comply with a decision dated 20 April, which stipulated an overall spectrum cap of 120MHz for frequencies in the 3.4GHz-3.6GHz/3.6GHz-3.8GHz bands.

TeleGeography notes that the Spanish authorities have long endorsed these frequency bands for 5G use. Vodafone staged what it claimed was the ‘first 5G call in the world’ with Huawei in February 2018, using 3.7GHz spectrum, while Orange has disclosed plans to launch commercial 5G services in 2019, using its aforementioned block of 3.5GHz spectrum.

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