The Finnish authorities (the Ministry of Transport and Communication & Traficom, the telecom watchdog) have finalized plans to auction the 5G capacity band, 26 GHz, in June 2020. The hearing process during February-March led to no changes in the plans. The invitation is to be published on 21 April 2020 and the auction is to start on 8 June 2020.
Finland is only the second European country after Italy in 2018 to award the 26 GHz band. Moreover, while the Italian award consisted of 1 GHz of frequencies (26.5 – 27.5 GHz), the Finnish award includes a total of 2.4 GHz between 25.1 – 27.5 GHz. Only the lower part of the band, i.e. 24.25 – 25.1 GHz is left out from the auction; it has been reserved for local, unlicensed users, or 5G verticals.
The 2.4 GHz available in the auction has been divided into only three blocks; i.e. 800 MHz per block. While the block size is exceptionally big, it is well compliant with the three-player market in Finland. The blocks are the following:
- Block A: 25.1 – 25.9 GHz;
- Block B: 25.9 – 26.7 GHz; and
- Block C: 26.7 – 27.5 GHz.
The reserve price has been set at EUR 7 million per block and one bidder can not acquire more than one block. Given the award structure and the market setting, one may expect the auction to raise about EUR 21 million. This translates into EUR 0.0016 €/MHz/pop. In Italy the corresponding figure was about twice as high, EUR 0.003 €/MHz/pop, with more demanding licence conditions, such as so called club use model and wholesale obligations. While the auction as such seems rather predictable, it is interesting to see how the mobile business models develop to utilize these very high frequencies.