The Netherlands kicks off its 5G spectrum auction

Published: 29 June 2020 - 7:28 a.m.

The Netherlands’ telecoms regulatory body has announced that it will begin auctioning the country’s first 5G spectrum from 10am today.

From today, the countries mobile network operators can begin bidding on 5G spectrum in the 700 MHz band which will allow them to launch their 5G networks in earnest.

Official auctioneer, Martijn Meijers of the Telecom Agency, told journalists at the country’s national broadcaster, NOS, that the auction was expected to fetch more than €900 million, saying that he expected strong demand from the country’s telcos.

"This is because mobile internet is used more and more. As a result, demand exceeds supply and bands are given to the parties who value it most," he said.

The first phase of the auction will continue until all bids have been submitted. After that, winning bidders will be allocated their spectrum during the second phase of the auction.

To date, only one mobile network operator has managed to launch 5G services in The Netherlands.

Vodafone Ziggo became the first operator to launch 5G earlier this year. Despite the fact that the Dutch telecoms regulator had not yet made 5G spectrum available for auction, Vodafone launched 5G services using Ericsson’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology over its existing 1,800 MHz spectrum.

“5G is an evolution that opens doors to new possibilities. Today we are introducing 5G via ‘Ericsson Spectrum Sharing’ in our GigaNet. We are making use of the latest innovative technology to apply 5G in existing frequency bands, using our existing antennas. 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.

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

Vodafone said that it will make 5G services available to 50 per cent of the population by the end of July 2020.

The Netherlands is set to auction off additional 5G spectrum later in the second quarter of 2020, with lots in the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands set to go under the hammer.

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