In Ireland, the consultation on the proposed draft multi-band auction regulations continues. The regulator ComReg published the non-confidential versions of the comments on its website. The only MNO who agrees with the proposed 5G auction format is Vodafone Ireland. The other three would like to see a different format.
In mid-May, the Irish regulator ComReg published the draft information memorandum and draft regulations for the proposed multi-band spectrum auction. ComReg extended the consultation period until 17 August. However, it has already received some comments from Eir, Imagine and Three Ireland. Their non-confidential versions are publicly available on ComReg website.
In the proposed multi-band auction, the operators will compete for frequencies in the bands 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz. The plan is to run the auction before the end of the year.
ComReg proposes to award the valuable resources in a combinatorial clock auction (CCA). However, three of four stakeholders disagreed with the selected format.
For CCA auctions, auctioneers usually apply the second-price rule. This means that the auction winner does not pay his highest bid price, but the second-highest price. Still, it is difficult for the bidders to foresee an outcome of the auction in terms of their eventual financial obligations.
The Exposure Pricing, proposed in the Irish auction, shall reduce this risk. Bidders will be presented with a discount that is specific to each bidder which would be applied to the clock prices of any package. On one hand, this shall reduce the uncertainty of bidders about the second-price rule. On the other hand, the additional information is very unlikely to distort the auction result by gaming.
Within Covid-19 regulatory measures, ComReg awarded temporary licences in the 700 MHz and liberalised 2.1 GHz bands. The latter has so far been available only for 3G. The temporary 3-month licences were awarded as an exceptional measure to help operators tackle the increased data traffic demand.
The three-month licences awarded to Eir, Three and Vodafone, will expire on 7 October. However, the operators may ask for an extension by another three months, what they did.
Within the consultation, all three MNOs holding temporary licences said they would like to continue benefiting from these until the auction.
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