Latvia awards 700 MHz licences

Short before the end of the year 2021, Latvian regulator SPRK announced the results of the 5G spectrum auction in the 700 MHz band. Three mobile operators – Tele2, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons and Bite Latvija – will pay a total of EUR 13.273 million for licences.

The auction had two parts. The first one ran on 16 December and the second one on 16 and 17 December 2021. In the first part, each of the three bidders gained a 2×10 MHz block for 20 years the beginning on 1 February 2022. In the second part, the regulator awarded two additional blocks to two operators for a 17-year period starting on 1 February 2025.

Each bidder wins a paired 700 MHz block

The first auction set a reserve price of EUR 2.2 million per paired block. It took eight rounds to distribute the spectrum. The assignments were as follows:

  • Tele2: 703–713 MHz and 758–768 MHz
  • Latvijas Mobilais Telefons: 713–723 MHz and 768–778 MHz
  • Bite Latvija: 723–733 MHz and 778–788 MHz

Tele2 will pay for their block EUR 2.42 million, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons EUR 3.523 million and Bite Latvija EUR 2.86 million.

Two unpaired 700 MHz blocks

In the second part, the regulator offered two unpaired blocks, each for a reserve price of EUR 150,000. After 179 bidding rounds, Tele2 won the block in the range 738–748 MHz and Latvijas Mobilais Telefons won the 748–758 MHz block. Each operator will pay EUR 2.235 million for their block.

Although the licences are technologically neutral, the band is especially suitable for a 5G rollout. The band’s propagation characteristics will mainly enable the coverage of less densely populated areas.

Tele2 to use 700 MHz licence for standalone 5G network

Tele2 announced that it would use the newly acquired band for building a 5G network in a standalone mode. The operator initially planned network and spectrum sharing with Bite, both in Latvia and Lithuania. However, the operators did not get full regulatory approval and eventually backed from their plan.

Previously, Tele2 acquired some spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. Now it has all it needs to roll out 5G and improve the existing 4G network, it said in its press release.

The neighbouring countries Estonia and Lithuania plan to conduct 5G auctions during 2022.

For more details on spectrum auctions, please visit our web page.

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