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Auction # 28 (700 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands)

The auction of the 700 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands started 3 June 2019 and finished 5 June. The auction was an open, ascending, simultaneous multiband auction (SMRA). Ice Communication Norge AS (Ice), Telia Norge AS (Telia) and Telenor Norge AS (Telenor) won spectrum licences in the auction.

About the auction

The auction consisted of three phases. In the first phase, the SMRA part of the auction, the available blocks were assigned to bidders. In the second phase, the placement of blocks in the spectrum band was decided after one, sealed-bid round. In the third phase of the auction, one of the bidders could take on a requirement to cover main motorways, and gain a discount on the total auction price up to NOK 40 000 000. The bidder who offered the lowest discount would win. The last phase was conducted as a sealed-bid round.

There were 6 blocks of 2 x 5 MHz (2 x 30 MHz) available in the 700 MHz band in the auction. The spectrum licences are valid from 1 November 2019 until 31 December 2039. There were coverage obligations attached to 2 of the blocks in the 700 MHz band, one for designated railway sections and one for main highways.

In the 2.1 GHz band 3 blocks of 2 x 5 MHz (2 x 15 MHz) was available. The licences enter into force shortly after the auction and are valid until 31 December 2032.

The reserve prices in the auction was:

700 MHz band:

  • For block without special coverage obligations: NOK 125 000 000
  • For the main highway coverage obligation block: NOK 55 000 000
  • For the railway coverage obligation block: NOK 30 000 000

2.1 GHz band: NOK 25 000 000

There was spectrum caps set for the auction. For the 700 MHz band no bidder could get more than 2 x 20 MHz. There was also a joint cap on the 450 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz band for 2 x 35 MHz. For the 2.1 GHz band there was a spectrum cap of 2 x 20 MHz, including existing holdings.

Auction results

In the auction Telia and Telenor won 2 x 10 MHz each in the 700 MHz band. Ice won 2 x 10 MHz in the 700 MHz band and 2 x 15 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band. Telia aquired the coverage obligations for designated railway sections. Telenor aquired the coverage obligations for main highways. No bidder took on the requirement to cover main motorways.

In the first phase of the auction, the lot assignment stage, the winners paid their winning bids. In the second phase of the auction, the frequency assignment stage, a second price rule applied.

The total auction price are 735 057 000. Ice’s total auction price is NOK 337 176 000, whereof NOK 12 176 000 is for placement in the 700 MHz band and NOK 75 000 000 for the three lots in 2.1 GHz band. Telia has to pay NOK 217 881 000, whereof NOK 2 176 000 is for placement in the 700 MHz band. Telenor will not pay anything for placement in the 700 MHz band. Telenor’s total auction price is NOK 180 000 000.

Winners may decide to postpone payment of parts of the auction price for two years, if they commit to invest NOK 250 000 000 in new and improved coverage within these two years. This is a new arrangement for spectrum auctions in Norway, and the aim is to improve coverage in areas that otherwise would not be prioritized.

After the auction, the placement of licensees in the 700 MHz band and the 2.1 GHz band is:

auksjon 28 figur 1

Figur 1: Licences in the 700 MHz band

auksjon 28 figur 2

Figure 2: Licences in the 2.1 GHz band

Background

In November 2015 the Norwegian government decided that the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) in the future will be dedicated to mobile broadband communications services. Today the 700 MHz band is used for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless microphones (in "TV white spaces") in Norway. The DTT-licence expires 3rd of June 2021, but in June 2018 it was agreed that the 700 MHz band will be released for mobile services from 1 November 2019.

During the preparation process of the award, there has been a question whether parts of the 700 MHz-band should be set aside for a dedicated network for high speed broadband service for public safety. On the 8 December 2017 the Norwegian government decided that 2 x 30 MHz in the 700 MHz band shall be made available for commercial operators.

There is excess demand for the 2 x 15 MHz available in the 2.1 GHz band. Nkom has decided to assign this spectrum together with the 700 MHz band, in order for a new operator or an operator with little spectrum to obtain both coverage and capacity spectrum in order to offer competitive mobile services. In addition, there will be economical and practical benefits from assigning the two bands in a joint auction process.

Auction rules

The document “ Overordnede rammer for tildeling av 700 MHz- og 2.1 GHz-båndene” (in Norwegian only), published 20 December 2018, constitutes together with the auction rules published 4 April 2019 the regulations for the award of spectrum in the 700 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands.

Questions

All enquiries concerning the auction shall be sent to 700MHz-2.1GHz-auction@nkom.no with copy to vsk@nkom.no and miv@nkom.no. The identity of the enquirer will not be made public. Questions and answers published on the auction webpage are considered to be known by bidders in the auction.

Timeline

  • 9 May: Deadline for registration of bidders in the auction
  • During the week starting with 20 May: Mandatory mock auctions
  • 3 June: Auction starts

The time schedule is tentative.

Public consultation of draft auction rules

Nkom published draft auction rules, which are the specific rules for participation in the auction, registration of bidders and conduct of the auction etc, 20 December 2018. Deadline for consultation responses was 13 February 2019. The draft auction rules are available in English. All annexes are in Norwegian, and are available on the public consultation webpage. Consultation responses are published on the Norwegian auction webpage. 

The final auction rules will be finalized after the consultation.

Questions and answers regarding the draft auction rules

Background

The overall framework for the auction constitutes together with the auction rules, the regulations for the auction. The overall framework, which regulates spectrum caps, reserve prices, coverage obligations etc was determined in November 2018. For more information on the overall framework Nkom refers to the letters from the Ministry to Nkom on 4 July and 3 December 2018 and Nkoms document on the final overall framework published 20 December 2018, available under “Documents” below.

Spectrum in the 700 MHz band

The 700 MHz band is harmonized within the EEA. 2 x 30 MHz of the frequency band (marked "Uplink" and "Downlink" in Figure 1) shall be used for mobile services in the future.

The rest of the band consist of a "center gap" and guard bands. These parts of the 700 MHz band will not be assigned in the upcoming auction. Each country within the EEA may decide which of the following services they will allow in these parts of the band:

  • PMSE (Program Making and Special Events), e.g. wireless microphones, in the frequency range 694-703 MHz and 733-758 MHz.
  • PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) in the frequency range 698-703 MHz, 733-736 MHz, 753-758 MHz and 788-791 MHz. 
  • M2M (machine-to-machine radio communications), e.g. equipment for Internet of Things, in the frequency range 733-736 MHz and 788-791 MHz. 
  • SDL (Supplemental

Harmonisert bruk av 700 MHz-båndet

Figur 1: Harmonization of the 700 MHz band

Recommendations on the use of the 700 MHz band

Overall objectives for the allocation are to facilitate the efficient use of the spectrum and maximize the economic benefit to the society. During the process for allocation of the 700 MHz band, the Authorities have considered what will be efficient use of the spectrum.   

Nexia Management Consulting AS (now Analysys Mason AS) and Menon Business Economics AS have conducted a socioeconomic analysis of the usage of the 700 MHz band on assignment from Nkom. Nexia/Menon delivered their report in February 2017. The report  (in Norwegian only) and an executive summary (in English) are available for download. The report was subject to public consultation from 1 March 2017 to 19 April 2017. Consultation responses are available for download, but are in Norwegian only.   

Nkom have engaged DotEcon Limited as consultant on the preparation and implementation of the allocation.

Nkom provided our recommendations on the usage of the 700 MHz band to the Ministry of Transport and Communications in June 2017. Nkom has considered which usage of the spectrum will facilitate the most efficient use of the resources and also to be socioeconomically most beneficial. Nkom recommend that 2 x 30 MHz is allocated for commercial, public mobile networks.

Nkom has considered whether parts of the 700 MHz-band should be set aside for a high speed broadband service for public safety network (PPDR). Nkom's recommendation is however that the needs for such broadband services for PPDR-users and the Norwegian Armed Forces best can be met by commercial operators in public mobile networks. This recommendation is in line with the Norwegian government's Digital Agenda and Nkom will actively work towards that commercial public mobile networks shall be able to provide services for PPDR-users in the future.

Part 1 and 2 of Nkom's report  to the Ministry of Transport and Communications is made public together with a cover letter to the Ministry which contains a summary of Nkom's recommendations for the use for the 700 MHz band (both in Norwegian only). The rest of the report contains Nkom's preliminary assessments on overall framework for the allocation, use of the "center gap" and guard bands etc. and this part of the report is not public.

Decision to assign 2 x 30 MHz to commercial operators

8 December 2017 the Norwegian Government decided that 2 x 30 MHz in the 700 MHz band shall be made available for commercial operators. The decision is in accordance with Nkom's recommendation to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. This is also in accordance with the joint recommendation from the Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) and Nkom that the next-generation emergency communications network should be realized within commercial networks. Nkom will now continue with preparations towards the assignment of the 700 MHz band.

Use of wireless microphones in the 700 MHz-band

When the 700 MHz-band is used for mobile broadband communications services, there will no longer be given rights to use wireless microphones in the frequency bands 703-733 MHz and 758-788 MHz. It has not yet been decided whether wireless microphones will be allowed in the center gap or guard bands, but Nkom recommend users to buy equipment that support other frequency bands than 700 MHz.

Documents