Dutch telcos splash €1.23bn at the country’s first 5G auction

Published: 22 July 2020 - midnight

VodafoneZiggo, T-Mobile and KPN have all won spectrum allocations in the first 5G auction held in the Netherlands.

Between them, the country’s three main mobile network operators acquired a total of 26 separate licences, spending €1.23 billion on a variety of spectrum holdings in the 700 MHz, 1,400 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.

The Netherlands will auction off the much sort after 3.5 GHz spectrum, which will allow operators to dramatically ramp up speeds and availability on their fledgling 5G networks, in early 2022.

The Dutch government hailed the auction as a success, claiming that the launch of 5G services would help the country to fast track the expansion of its digital economy.

“Mobile communication is an important basis for future digital innovations in care, agriculture, education, manufacturing and mobility. The Netherlands is a worldwide digital leader and aims to maintain this position by meeting companies, organisations and consumers' urgent need for fast, reliable and secure mobile communications. The outcome of this auction will also ensure sufficient competition in our telecoms market until 2040, delivering quality, innovation and reasonable prices for consumers and businesses,” said State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer.

Prior to the auction, only VodafoneZiggo had launched 5G services, deploying Ericsson’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing technology on its existing 1,800 MHz spectrum holding.

“With the addition of 5G, we want to offer the Netherlands the best fixed and mobile digital infrastructure in the world which will result in a new form of connectedness. Keeping our customers connected is at the core of what we do, and we know this partnership with Ericsson will ensure that we do just that,” said Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo, on the initial launch.

By using the DSS technology, VodafoneZiggo claims that it will be able to offer its 5G customers download speeds of 1 Gbps and reduce latency by around 30 per cent.

With the completion of this week’s 5G spectrum auction, KPN and T-Mobile will be able to deploy their own initial 5G networks, while Vodafone Ziggo will be able to expand its own offering.

As part of the licencing process, Dutch telcos will be tied in to minimum service obligations.

“These [obligations] include the coverage requirement, under which [operators] must achieve mobile coverage across 98 per cent of the surface area of each Dutch municipality, and standards for the minimum speed provided to consumers and businesses. As a result of these requirements, the Netherlands' mobile internet speed will come to average over 100 Megabits per second,” the Dutch government said in statement to the press.

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