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ANCOM launches auction for new mobile spectrum licences

11.10.2021

 

11 October 2021 - ANCOM has launched the competitive selection procedure for awarding frequency usage rights for 195 MHz available in the 800 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400 – 3800 MHz bands, for the provision of mobile communications services. The Authority published the official announcement on offering for sale the Terms of Reference, which are available, in Romanian, here. The additional frequencies auctioned off by ANCOM will fuel the implementation and take-up of new technologies in Romania on a large scale.

With a view to aligning the validity period of all the frequency usage licences issued by the Authority, the licences in the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands will be valid until 5 April 2029 and the licences in the 3400 - 3800 MHz band will be valid until 31 December 2025. The documents preceding the organization of the competitive selection procedure, namely the Decision on the selection procedure for awarding frequency usage rights and the Government Decision on setting the minimum licence fee for awarding frequency usage rights, as well as the licence fee payment conditions were published in the Romanian Official Journal no. 964 of 8 October 2021.

Frequencies available in the auction

In the auction procedure, interested operators may purchase 195 MHz of the frequency spectrum that has remained available after the previous similar selection procedures, in 2012 and 2015, as follows:

a)    1 block of paired 5 MHz in the 791-796 MHz/ 832-837 MHz sub-bands, for the period 1 January 2022 - 5 April 2029;

b)    8 blocks of paired 5 MHz in the 2530-2570 MHz/2650-2690 MHz sub-bands, for the period 1 January 2022 - 5 April 2029;

c)    1 block of 15 MHz in the 2600-2615 MHz sub-band, for the period 1 January 2022 - 5 April 2029;

d)    18 blocks of 5 MHz in the 3400-3490 MHz sub-band, for the period 1 January 2022 - 31 December 2025.

Licence fees

The minimum amount of the licence fee for the frequency usage rights available in the auction is the RON equivalent of:

a)    EUR 22 million for a paired block of 2x5 MHz in the 791-796 MHz/ 832-837 MHz sub-bands;

b)    EUR 4.3 million for a paired block of 2x5 MHz in the 2530-2570 MHz/2650-2690 MHz sub-bands;

c)    EUR 3.5 million for an unpaired block of 15 MHz in the 2600-2615 MHz sub-band;

d)    EUR 700,000 for an unpaired block of 5 MHz in the 3400-3490 MHz sub-band.

The whole amount of spectrum available in the auction, if sold for the starting price, would generate EUR 72.5 million.

The licence fees to be paid by the winners of the selection procedure will have to be paid within 15 days from the date of announcing the final results of the auction, and the respective amounts will be revenue to the state budget.

Coverage requirements

The Terms of Reference for this auction set out some coverage and development obligations for licence holders. For the licences to be granted in the 800 MHz band, the obligations aim to ensure a coverage of 95% of the population in 56 localities (listed in the Terms of Reference) with mobile broadband communications services, with a downlink data transfer speed of at least 2 Mbit/s and a 95% probability of indoor reception. This obligation will be in force from 31 December 2023 at the latest until the end of the licence validity period, i.e. 5 April 2029.

The winners of the selection procedure who acquire frequency usage rights in the 3400-3600 MHz band have the obligation to install a number of base stations, annually increasing to a total of 100 base stations in operation, anywhere in the country, three years and six months after the award procedure.

All the holders of licences acquired in this auction have the obligation to connect their public mobile networks to the RO-ALERT System.

Application documents

The application file must contain documents presenting the applicant's situation, and proving - among other things - the fulfilment of the applicant’s obligations to the state budget, to social security budgets and to special funds, as well as the fact that the applicant meets the conditions for participation: it has a turnover of at least EUR 10 million for the past year or a subscribed and paid-in share capital as the RON equivalent of at least EUR 1,000,000, it is not in a state of insolvency or liquidation, its business is not handled by a bankruptcy judge, its commercial activity is not suspended, it is not part of another applicant’s group, etc. The application file will also contain the initial bid, indicating the number of blocks that the applicant intends to purchase in each of the available spectrum categories.

Schedule of the auction procedure

The persons interested in participating in the auction can submit their application and the participation guarantee not later than 15 November 2021. The auction commission will analyse the submitted application documents and will announce the applicants that qualify for the next stage, not later than 17 November 2021. Thus, the auction can actually start no later than 25 November 2021. ANCOM estimates that the final results will be announced in December, and the licenses will be granted by the end of this year.

The Terms of Reference can be purchased starting 12 October 2021, every day, from Monday to Thursday between 09.00 - 16.00, and Friday between 09.00 - 14.00, from the ANCOM headquarters in 2 Delea Noua Street, 3rd District Bucharest. Additionally, at the request of the interested persons, the Terms of Reference can be sent on paper or by electronic means, upon the interested person’s presenting the original document proving the payment of the corresponding non-refundable amount of RON 5,000, and the power-of-attorney of the person mandated to take over the Terms of Reference.

Only bids from those who have purchased the Terms of Reference will be accepted in the auction.

The deadline for submitting the application file and the initial bid is 15 November 2021, 17:00 hrs.

The announcement and the documentation for the organization of the competitive selection procedure for awarding frequency usage rights in the 800 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400 - 3800 MHz bands are available, in Romanian, here.