Applicants invited in Romanian spectrum auction

Romanian regulator ANCOM published a call for tenders to participate in a spectrum auction in three bands. ANCOM offers a total of 195 MHz in the bands 800 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400–3800 MHz. Applicants can submit their bids until 15 November 2021. Romanian regulator will impose coverage requirements on the licensees.

The auction aims to award the remaining spectrum which ANCOM did not distribute in the previous selection procedures. These took place in 2012 and 2015.

Spectrum available to applicants

Applicants will compete for one block of 2×5 MHz in the 800 MHz band, eight blocks of 2×5 MHz in the 2600 MHz band FDD, one block of 15 MHz in the 2600 MHz TDD and 18 blocks of 5 MHz in the 3400–3800 MHz band.

As the regulator wants to align the licence periods with those of existing licences, the new rights will expire rather soon. For the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz band on 5 April 2029 and for the 3.5 GHz band on 31 December 2025.

The reserve prices in RON, which the regulator kindly expressed in EUR equivalents, will be as follows:

  • €22m for a block of 2×5 MHz in the 800 MHz band
  • €4.3m for a block of 2×5 MHz in the 2600 MHz FDD
  • €3.5m for a block of 15 MHz in the 2600 MHz TDD
  • €0.7m for a block of 5 MHz in the 3400–3800 MHz.

If ANCOM sold the whole spectrum pool for the reserve prices, the total proceeds would amount to €72.5m.

Coverage requirements

ANCOM will require meeting certain network development criteria from successful licensees. Thus in the 800 MHz operators will have to cover 95% population in 56 locations with mobile broadband with a minimum rate of 2 Mbps. At the same time, the signal will be available indoors with a 95% probability. This obligation will be in force from 31 December 2023 at least until the licence expiry date, i. e. 5 April 2029.

Coverage obligations in the 3.5 GHz band require that operators build a certain number of base stations. The target is 100 base stations anywhere in the country after 3.5 years from the award.

Eligible applicants

Besides the requirement that the applicant must not have any liabilities towards the State, he must prove financial feasibility. Only operators with the past year’s revenue of at least €10m will qualify. The application will include initial bids indicating the number of blocks in each respective category.

Next steps

ANCOM will accept applications by 15 November at the latest. By 17 November, operators will know whether they qualified. The bidding itself will start on 25 November. ANCOM wants to award the licences by the end of the year. Some operators in Romania will thus find spectrum packages under the Christmas tree.

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