PTS postpones auction at the 3.5 GHz band

PTS postpones auction at the 3.5 GHz band

The Swedish telecom authority PTS has decided to postpone the planned auction at the 3.5 GHz band (as well as at the 2.3 GHz band). This is somewhat surprising since the plans seemed rather finalised in the consultation in June 2019 and the auction was due to start in January 2020. In addition, the band is one of the key 5G bands.

PTS says it needs to adjust or re-consider auction rules to ensure compliance with the new “Telecom Act” (lagen om elektronisk kommunikation, LEK) due to come into force in January 2020. There would seem to be some security concerns since PTS states that it will conduct further discussions with e.g. the Swedish Security Service and the Swedish Armed Forces to solve possible problems in the planned award.

The plan was to auction the 3.5 GHz band (3420 – 3720 MHz) in 15 blocks of 20 MHz (with an additional block 3400 – 3420 MHz that comes with restrictions). The rules were tailored to enable three bidders to win a minimum of 80 MHz; this would be compliant with the current market setting. The reserve price was set at SEK 100 million per block. Similarly, the 2.3 GHz band (2300 – 2380 MHz) was divided into 8 blocks, 10 MHz each, with the reserve price set at SEK 20 million per block.

PTS has not indicated a new schedule for the award.