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Spectrum Newsletter – November 2020

09 November 2020 | Research

Roberto Kompany

Newsletter | PDF (15 pages) | Wireless Infrastructure


This edition of the Spectrum Newsletter for up to the end of September 2020 highlights the spectrum auction activity worldwide in four regions:

  • the Americas (Latin America (LATAM) and North America (NA))
  • Asia–Pacific (emerging Asia–Pacific (EMAP) and developed Asia–Pacific (DVAP))
  • Europe (Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Western Europe (WE))
  • the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Notable events in the period include the following.

  • COVID-19. In the European markets, several telecoms regulators had planned spectrum auctions in the period between July 2020 and September 2020, but many of these auctions were delayed because of the imposed restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few regulators, such as those in Portugal and Slovakia, are planning auctions for the end of this year.
  • France. The regulator, Arcep, held the much-anticipated 5G spectrum auction in early October 2020 after several months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The auction released 310MHz of spectrum in the 3.4–3.8GHz bands, raising a total of USD3.3 billion (EUR2.8 billion). The four main mobile network operators (MNOs) each obtained spectrum, but not in the optimal 100MHz bandwidth (according to 3GPP’s 5G specifications). The exact allocations within the frequency band had yet to be determined at the time of writing.
  • USA. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) completed the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared spectrum auction, known as Auction 105, in August 2020. Seven priority access licences (PALs), with 10MHz channels each between 3550MHz and 3650MHz, were made available in county-based licence areas. The FCC raised a total of USD4.6 billion. Verizon was the largest spender, obtaining 557 PALs for USD1.9 billion. Other bid winders included Wetterhorn Wireless (a DISH Network company), Charter (a cable company), Comcast, and Cox, which paid USD912.9 million for 5492 licences, USD464 million for 210 licences, USD459 million for 830 licences and USD119 million for 20 licences, respectively.
  • USA. The FCC announced that its C-band spectrum auction will take place in December 2020. However, the first batch of spectrum will not be released before December 2021.