5G licensing bidding process delayed again

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Cyprus rescheduled the deadline for tenders for four licenses to establish and operate 5G networks for the second time in a month as providers want the state to offer credit facilities.

The Department of Electronical Communications announced the extension granted after requests by interested parties for credit facilities because of the very high reservation prices for each licence.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, head of the department George Komodromos said that initially, applications should have been received no later than September 17, but it was extended until September 30, after authorities received new guidelines from the EU on cybersecurity.

“The providers needed to time to go through the new directive and incorporate any new elements in their proposals.

However, this time around the process was delayed as interested parties have asked for the state to help them out in any way it can as costs are high,” said Komodromos.

Noting that the new deadline is now October 14, Komodromos said the request falls within EU guidelines urging member states to push for the implementation of 5G to help in the recovery following the coronavirus crisis.

“The EU has called on the Member States to facilitate the development of 5G networks in every possible way to facilitate the economic recovery of the EU. Therefore, they are asked to complete the radio frequency auction process within 4 months.”

This means that Cyprus should move forward with auctioning the licenses within 2020.

The four networks for which licenses are to be granted will be developed in the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz band. This is divided into two main categories, Category A and Category B.

Category A consists of four separate licenses, each of which includes one “Basic Radio Spectrum Package”.

The reservation price for each “Basic Radio Spectrum Package” is set at €6,000,000.

Category B is divided into two Subcategories, Subcategory B1 and Subcategory B2.

In relation to Subcategory B1, the reservation price for each Spectral Component (2x5MHz), in the 700 MHz band, is set at €3,500,000.

And for Subcategory B2, the reservation price for each Spectral Component (50MHz), in the 3.6 GHz band, is set at €2,500,000.

The licenses will be valid for 20 years.

Providers of a network have an obligation to cover 70% of the population of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as all highways with speeds of at least 100 Mbps, by 31 December 2025.

To reach the ‘Gigabit Society’ goal set by the European Commission countries are encouraged to utilise multiple policy measures and financial instruments to encourage private and public investments in fast and ultra-fast networks.

These measures will help European citizens and businesses reap the full benefits of digitalisation.

According to the ‘Gigabit Society,’ all European households should have access to 100 Mbps connections by 2025 with the possibility to upgrade those networks to reach much higher speeds.

Main socio-economic drivers – schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, hospitals, public administrations relying on digital technologies – should have access to gigabit connectivity.