Estonian regulator launches third and final 5G auction

Radio mast with Tallinn's TV Tower visible in the background.
Radio mast with Tallinn's TV Tower visible in the background. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) is launching Estonia's third and final 5G frequency permit auction Tuesday, in which two telecommunications companies are slated to take part.

"The competition has lasted more than two months by now, and the final permit remains, following the distribution of which the first 5G competition can be declared complete," TTJA Director General Kristi Talving said according to a press release. "I'm truly glad that the first permits have been issued by now, but at the same time, there's of course a lot of work left to do to bring 5G services to the people of Estonia."

Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Kristjan Järvan (Isamaa) noted in a press release that the two previous 5G frequency permit auctions were very active, with the winning bids exceeding their respective opening bids several times over.

"Fierce competition supports the rapid rollout of ultrafast internet to the people of Estonia, and soon three telecoms will be able to offer a completely new level of user experience," Järvan said. "5G will also support technological developments in various sectors as well as boost innovation, which will stimulate entrepreneurship and the country's economy more broadly. We've finally entered the 5G Age, and Estonia has a lot to gain from that."

The frequency up for auction this time is 3540-3600 MHz and 3730-3800 MHz/3670-3800 MHz, with the starting bid set at €1,597,000 and bid increment at €100,000. The auction is open to Tele2 Eesti AS and UAB Bite Lietuva.

Elisa won the first 5G frequency permit auction with a bid of €7,206,208; Telia Eesti won the second with €8,500,300. As both telecoms have already been issued their respective permits, they are disqualified from participating in the third and final auction.

As a result of the competition, three 5G-based networks will be built in the 3410-3800 MHz frequency band. Frequency permit holders are obligated to provide end users with access to 5G-based communications services at at least the Release 15 level within one year of the permit being issued. Within two years, they must also install and activate a minimum of 200 base stations across Estonia, of which 100 may be located in Harju County but a minimum of five must be located in every county.

Next auctions starting this fall

The conditions for the next competition for 5G frequency permits, this time for the 694-790 MHz frequency band, have been confirmed by the minister of entrepreneurship and IT, and auctions for the permits are expected to begin this fall.

A total of six 2x5 MHz frequency blocks will be put up for auction, with participants eligible to win up to two frequency blocks each.

The lower, 700 MHz frequency band is best suited for providing rural and less dense areas with 5G.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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