Outgoing IT minister announces details of third and final 5G auction

Cellular mast.
Cellular mast. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Outgoing IT and foreign trade minister Andres Sutt (Reform) has set out, albeit in general terms, the conditions for the third and final 5G bandwidth auction.

The auction, of the 694-790 MHz frequency range, is set to take place in autumn, following the conclusion of the current, ongoing auction involving Telia, Tele2 and Bite.

Two telecoms firms will be eligible to bid.

Sutt said that: "The first 5G frequency band auction is currently still ongoing, while the next frequency band auction is planned to start already in the autumn, so that 5G technology will reach users as quickly as possible."

"5G technology has been long anticipated in Estonia, so we need to make up for the lost time and move forward with the auctions as rapidly as possible. I feel good I am glad that I was able to confirm the conditions of the competition before the change of position," he went on, adding that the 700MHz band is best suited to optimal coverage, particularly in sparsely populated rural areas.

The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) oversees all three auctions.

Telecoms firm Elisa won the first auction back in May, paying €7.2 million for their license.

Since only one license is to be issued per company, Elisa now cannot take part in the second and third auctions.

The winner of the current auction, which was nearing the €6-million mark a week-and-a-half ago, will similarly be barred from bidding in the third round, leaving two companies in the running, one of which will not pick up any 5G license.

Elisa, Tele2 and Telia are all Estonian companies, UAB Bite is a Lithuanian service provider.

The exact date the autumn auction will start has not yet been announced.

5G has in the past four years in Europe been replacing the 4G networks which had been in use over the preceding Decade or so. 3G began over 20 years ago; 2G, in the 1990s.

Andres Sutt is due to be replaced as IT and foreign trade minister by Kristjan Järvan, appointed by Isamaa in the recently announced Reform/Isamaa/SDE provisional coalition.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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