“This was an initial and highly successful step towards the rapid rollout of 5G in Austria,” comments telecoms regulator Johannes Gungl on the just-completed award of the inaugural 5G band. The EU considers 80 to 100 MHz to be an effective range for introducing high bandwidth 5G wireless services. During the award process for the 3.4–3.8 GHz band, the three Austrian mobile operators A1, T-Mobile and Drei in fact acquired licences for 100 to 140 MHz of contiguous frequencies in all twelve regions put to tender. Gungl: “Accordingly, we are now in the vanguard of EU countries in terms of the time of the 5G award, the frequency volume and operator assignments.”
Results in detail have been published on the RTR website. It took three weeks to determine the market value of the frequency usage rights, which ultimately totalled around EUR 188 million. Bidders invested sums ranging from EUR 1.8 million to EUR 64.3 million.
The award design selected also worked to strengthen competition in the telecommunications sector. One mobile services provider (an MVNO) who had previously only leased the use of third-party networks secured usage rights for frequencies in Lower Austria and Burgenland. Three regional broadband providers were granted licences in Upper Austria, Salzburg and Styria.
The 3.4–3.8 GHz band is particularly well suited to providing regional coverage. Gungl: “Our aim was to strengthen the economy while ensuring fast, reliable connectivity for consumers. As in the past, this is assured by a variety of providers making their individual contributions.”
As a result, the first leg of a journey has now been completed, ultimately leading to the successful rollout of 5G services in Austria. The second step, which will be decisive for coverage, starts with the 2020 multiband award. “With this year’s inaugural 5G band award, we have boosted the factors of innovation, competition and the economy. The multiband award in early 2020 will make 5G generally available,” says Gungl, also citing the in-depth preparatory work now being completed for this second award process.
As with the award now completed, which involved the hosting of two rounds of highly detailed consultations with industry stakeholders that decisively shaped the award design, RTR also intends to emphasise dialogue in the multiband award. Gungl: “Over the last few days, we have held an initial, in-depth consultation round on the 2020 multiband award. And stakeholder involvement—especially outside the telecommunications sector—was stronger here than ever before. This shows just how crucial a successful 5G rollout is for both businesses and consumers in Austria.”
Special frequency award newsletter (in German only)