Cyprus moves ahead with 5G auction

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Cyprus telecom providers are gearing up for the auction of 5G broadband frequencies taking place on 17 December, after three postponements in as many months.

The auction conducted by the Department of Electronic Communications, now under the Deputy Ministry of Innovation, has four frequency licenses up for grabs with four networks on high alert.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Department of Electronic Communications head George Komodromos said delays in the process were caused by the extension granted to interested parties for credit facilities because of the very high reserve price for each license.

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.

Time was then given to providers to work the new data into their proposals.

The four bidders are Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), Primetel, Epic and Cablenet all bidding for an equal number of platforms.

“All four bidders have accepted the opening price for a platform which is set at €6 mln. From there on, they will be bidding to obtain a higher number of frequencies.

“The more frequencies a provider obtains, the more clients they can accommodate, and the more services they will be able to provide,” said Komodromos.

He said, once the licenses are handed out, authorized providers are required to establish and operate a fifth-generation broadband electronic communications network that will cover 70% of the population by December 31, 2025.

“All major highways will also have to be covered by the network.”

The bidding process will begin at 10 am at the office of the Department of Electronic Communications.

Each group will send representatives to submit bids in consecutive rounds for each package.

There will be four consecutive auctions and the winners announced by the end of the year.

Licences are granted between the frequency spectrum available on the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz bandwidths and valid for 20 years.

Radiofrequency licensing for 5G networks is an obligation for all EU member states to reach the ‘Gigabit Society’ goal set by the European Commission.

Meeting this goal will help Europeans and businesses reap the full benefits of digitalization, enhancing EU competitiveness in the global market, accelerating digital transformation, and promoting green growth.

According to the ‘Gigabit Society,’ all European households should have access to 100 Mbps connections by 2025 with the possibility to upgrade 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.