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Norway 5G auction supports rural rollout

Nordlicht in Norwegen mit Leuchtturm

The Norwegian telecoms regulator NKOM announced completion of the 5G auction. Four mobile network operators, Altibox, Ice Communication Norge, Telia Norge and Telenor Norge, won licences in the 2.6 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum bands. These will serve to roll out 5G networks, especially supported in rural areas. The total price of the licences amounts to NOK 3.89bn (€389m).

Norway completed the auction to award frequency licences in the 2.6 GHz and 3.6 GHz band. These frequencies serve primarily for the development of 5G networks. The auction started on 27 September 2021 and lasted only four days.

The auction had three stages. During the first one, called the clock stage, the spectrum amount for each bidder was decided after 33 bidding rounds. During the assignment stage, concrete blocks ware assigned in a sealed-bid round based on opportunity costs.

The third stage of the auction served to offer to the fresh licence holders an opportunity to get a discount on licence fees in exchange for coverage of rural areas with high-speed broadband. Three operators, Altibox, Telia and Telenor, committed to cover rural areas with at least 100 Mbps internet. As a result they got a discount totalling NOK 480m.

In the 2.6 GHz band, Altibox won a 50 MHz TDD block for NOK 52.5m, Telenor won 2×40 MHz for NOK 415.89m and Telia 2×30 MHz for NOK 289.4m.

In the 3.6 GHz band, Altibox won 100 MHz and paid NOK 780.9m for the bandwidth plus NOK 11m for the placement. Telenor won 120 MHz for NOK 1bn and Telia won 100 MHz for NOK 780.9m. Ice won 80 MHz for NOK 553.9m.

Licence prices after discounts for rural areas

After the discounts provided in exchange for commitments to cover rural areas with broadband, the resulting totals for the operators look as follows:

Operators can choose three means of payment. Either they pay the whole amount at once immediately after the auction, or in interest-free instalments over five years, or over 20 years but including a 6% interest.

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