Recent news about spectrum auctions has focussed on cancellations due to the COVID-19 crisis: but underlying this there are bigger issues explored in our new Spectrum Auctions Dossier.
In the past 20 years auctions have become the go-to means of assigning spectrum, but they are being questioned as never before.
The policy environment has moved from an enthusiasm for the purest market mechanism as a way of ensuring spectrum for the leanest and fittest companies, to worries about the economic damage caused by lack of investment and poor national coverage.
The emergency spectrum assignments in response to the COVID-19 crisis give an indication of the changing mood. These were not made by auction and requiring their return may not be practical. A further example of turning away from pure market approaches when there are bigger policy priorities.