Switzerland knows the winners of 5G auction

Swiss regulator Bakom has successfully awarded frequencies in the 5G auction after eight working days. All three established mobile operators Swisscom, Salt and Sunrise gained frequencies in the bands 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 3500 MHz. The total proceeds from the auction were nearly CHF 380 million.

The regulator did not officially communicate the number or identity of applicants, even the exact date of start of the auction. Bakom only said the auction would start in January 2019. Media speculated that a potential fourth market player may participate in the auction and based on a Brexit-related question in Q&As on the auction they assumed the new entrant might come from the UK, indicating it might be Vodafone or, less probably, Liberty Global, whose subsidiary UPC Switzerland provides mobile services in the country on the network of Swisscom.

The auction lasted from 29 January to 7 February and ended after eight working days with 29 bidding rounds.

Four companies Dense Air Ltd, Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom had applied to participate in the auction. All applicants were admitted and participated in the auction. Dense Air ultimately did not purchase any frequencies.

Five frequency blocks of 5 MHz each in the 2600 MHz band as well as in the 700 and 1400 MHz bands remained unsold. The latter are so-called additional downlink frequencies, which can be used in the future for increased data download capacities. The unallocated frequencies remain with the Confederation and will be re-tendered later.

The mobile operators shall pay the following amounts for the frequencies they gained in the auction: Salt – CHF 94.5 million, Sunrise – CHF 89.2 million and Swisscom – CHF 195.6 million.

The frequencies are awarded for 15 years.

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