Exclusive: the competition for the former GSM bands can start this autumn

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This autumn, the Hungarian Communications Regulatory Authority, the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH), may start another frequency sale procedure, the aim of which is to resell the spectrum frame currently used by the three incumbent service providers, which will be released in 2022. CountingNews has been informed by insiders that the authority intends to initiate proceedings at the end of October, at the latest in early November, prior to which the organization will prepare a draft tender dossier as required, which is expected to be finalized after consultation. The authority did not respond to our request until the publication of our article.

Incidentally, the authority once held a stakeholder consultation on the topic, in which representatives of certain industry verticals (eg car manufacturers) were present in addition to mobile telecommunications operators. Then the most important issue proved to be that continuity of service or the stimulation of competition should be the primary goal of the authority during the tender. That is, what proportion of the spectrum released during the re-tendering in April 2022 (2×34.8 in the 900 MHz band, 2×60 MHz in the 1800 MHz band expires in 2022) and how much

péter vári, deputy director general of NMHH (photo: nmhh)

Based on the preparatory materials, the authority seemed ready to allow room for market expansion and even , even with certain incentives, would support the emergence of a new player in this band. Thus, NMHH examined the possibility that, if required by the market, at least a minimum part of the band (5 MHz) could be acquired by interested parties without frequency use rights in the band, with the largest possible unchanged position of the current frequency users in the band.

At the last frequency auction, which ended at the end of March this year, NMHH did not provide the opportunity to gain spectrum in addition to the mobile operator with three national networks, the only potential bidder, DIGI, essentially withdrew . The service provider's representatives were also present at the above-mentioned consultation and stated that the Romanian-owned company intended to start for expiring licenses.

The draft documentation for the procedure, which was launched last year, was published on 18 June 2019. The authority held a consultation on 3 and then finalized the dossier on 18 July. The procedure was open to service providers on August 8, and registration took place on September 13. As DIGI's parent company challenged the decision on registration in court, NMHH was finally able to hold the bidding phase only months later, at the end of March this year, to the original plans. In the process, Magyar Telekom, Vodafone Hungary and Telenor Hungary bid and sold frequency packages of various sizes for a total of HUF 128.5 billion.

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