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Croatia awards 5G spectrum to operators

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Croatian regulator HAKOM announced results of the 5G auction. The bidding started on 12 July 2021. HAKOM issued the licences to operators on 12 August 2021. Total proceeds from the auction amount to HRK 359m (€48m). Specure Auction Platform was used during the award process.

Nine bidders competed for national 5G licences in the bands 700 MHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz, as well as for regional licences in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band in a SMRA auction.

All three main mobile network operators (MNOs), A1 Hrvatska, Hrvatski Telekom and Telemach, acquired 20 MHz spectrum each in the 700 MHz band. A1 will pay the lowest price – HRK 45m and Hrvatski Telekom the highest one – nearly HRK 49m.

The big three also succeeded in acquiring national licences in the 3.6 GHz band. A1 and Telemach won equally 100 MHz and will pay HRK 52.92m and HRK 54.46m, respectively. Hrvatski Telekom won 120 MHz for HRK 66.77m. The prices comprise both the main stage and the assignment stage amounts.

The 26 GHz band goes to four operators – beside the Big Three MNOs also to the Italian operator EOLO. This fourth player and A1 won equally 200 MHz for HRK 7.5m. Telemach paid HRK 7.69m, after the increase by the assignment stage amount. Hrvatski Telekom acquired 400 MHz for HRK 15m.

And finally, the operators EOLO, Eco Net, Terrakom, BeeIN, Digicom and Markoja won regional licences in the 3.6 GHz band.

All licences are valid for 15 years with an option to extend by another five years. In two regions, however, the existing licences expire only in 2023, so the new awards will become available later. In those two regions, the new licences will apply for a shorter period (13 years).

The regulator plans to organise another auction to deploy additional spectrum for 5G in 2022-23, before the expiry of the current licences in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz bands in 2024.

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