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This year's spectrum auction wraps up


Following the spectrum auction organized by ANCOM, the three bidders won 420 MHz in the 700 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz bands, i.e. 76% of the spectrum available in the selection procedure.


The outcome of this procedure is mainly the result of the good collaboration and permanent dialogue with all parties involved. Throughout the process, ANCOM benefited from an important support from the Government, the conclusion of this auction marking the fulfilment of milestones 147 and 149 of Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). The fact that the licence fee can be paid in instalments is a premiere in Romania as regards the selection procedures for awarding frequency usage rights, contributing to today's results.


It was an auction organized in a difficult context, with a variety of factors strongly impacting this process. The auction results we announce today are all the more satisfying, as the circumstances were not the most favourable.


With this autumn’s auction, the mobile networks in Romania acquired a significant amount of additional spectrum in the long run, necessary for extending the coverage and for the massive improvement of service quality. This is a remarkable achievement amid the uncertainties of the context in which the procedure was carried out, including as regards the number of participants.


Following the auction, ORANGE ROMANIA S.A. has acquired 2 blocks of 2x5 MHz in the 700 MHz FDD band, all the 8 blocks of 5 MHz available in the 1500 MHz band and 16 blocks of 10 MHz in the 3400-3800 MHz band, for the amount of 264,607,669 euros (licence fee).


VODAFONE ROMANIA S.A. has won 1 block of 2x5 MHz in the 700 MHz band FDD and 10 blocks of 10 MHz in the 3400-3800 MHz band, and will pay 122,503,374 euros as a licence fee.


RCS & RDS S.A. has won the 4 blocks of 2x5 MHz available in the 2600 MHz FDD band and 5 blocks of 10 MHz in the 3400-3800 MHz band, for which it will pay 45,500,000 euros representing the licence fee.


The licence fees, amounting to a total value of 432,611,043 euros, are revenues to the state budget. Licence fees are to be paid in instalments, the first installment being due on 8 December  2022, totaling 119,000,000 euros, and the last on 17 November 2028, totaling 80,009,617 euros.


In the 700 MHz and 1500 MHz bands, the awarded frequency usage rights are valid for 25 years from 1 January 2023, while in the 3400-3800 MHz band the validity period of the usage rights is 22 years, from 1 January 2026. In the 2600 MHz band, the frequency usage rights are valid from 1 January 2023 to 5 April 2029.


The distribution of the spectrum allocated before and after the 2022 selection procedure is presented – by operators – in the table below (the recently awarded new usage rights enter into force on 01 January 2023, excepting the 3400-3800 MHz band).



Winners are expected to cover with broadband services at least 70% of the country's population, most urban areas, highways, international airports and modernized railways, as well as 240 settlements identified as not covered or poorly covered with mobile communications services.


In 2021, ANCOM also organized a selection procedure for awarding frequency usage rights in the spectrum portions that remained available following the 2012 and 2015 auctions in the 800 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400 – 3600 MHz bands. The 2021 spectrum auction brought 43.4 million euros to the state budget, while the amount collected to the state budget following the validity extension of the licences for the use of frequencies in the 2100 MHz, which expired in March 2020 and January 2022 respectively, was 110 million euros.