5G spectrum assignments stall worldwide, but Europe keeps selling C-Band
Aug 16, 2022 by Toby Youell


Bands2.6 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 900 MHz, 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 1800 MHz
Tags1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 700 MHz, 900 MHz, Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo, Estonia, Greece, Isle of Man, Kenya, Slovakia, Taiwan

Auctions involving over 1,600 MHz of spectrum have been recorded in the latest iteration of the PolicyTracker Spectrum Database.

These assignments arose from five auctions, all taking place in Europe. All but one of these awards included the 3.3—3.8 GHz band, widely considered a crucial mid-band for 5G.

At the time of our review, two of these auctions, Estonia’s 3.3—3.8 GHz band sale and Belgium’s multiband award, were only partially completed.

Due to Estonia’s unusual design, we were able to record the winner of one of its 3.6 GHz band licences this quarter. Operator Elisa won a 130 MHz block of the band for more than 4.5 times the reserve price, although this still only comprised $0.04/MHz/POP. This is a fraction of the amount paid by US operators for comparable frequencies in Q1 where the average price was $0.61/MHz/POP.

3.3—3.8 GHz was also sold in Slovakia and the Isle of Man. The latter award also included the 700 MHz band, widely considered the main “low band” for 5G. The fifth auction was for the 450 MHz band, which took place in Greece.

In total, 1,664 MHz of nationwide spectrum was sold in auctions during Q2 2022. We also noted administrative assignments of 60 MHz of the 2.6 GHz band in Kenya, and of 58 MHz across multiple bands in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We also track changes due to regulatory and/or corporate developments. For Q2 2022, this comprised spectrum swaps in the 1800 MHz band in Slovakia and the 2.6 GHz and 700 MHz bands in Taiwan.

The PolicyTracker Spectrum Database tracks allocations, assignments, and prices paid for spectrum. It is available in Google Sheets and as an Excel document and on our website here. It is updated quarterly and is available as part of the Spectrum Research Service.