Beauty contests assignments tie with auctions in Q2 2021
Jul 15, 2021 by Toby Youell


Bands700 MHz, 26 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 900 MHz, L-Band, 1800 MHz, 28 GHz, 450 MHz, 32 GHz
Tags1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 26 GHz, 28 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 32 GHz, 450 MHz, 700 MHz, 900 MHz, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, India, Jamaica, Japan, L-band, Latvia, Malaysia, Mauritiums, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, UK, Zambia

Auctions may have become the default way to assign spectrum, but the last quarter saw just as many beauty contests.

A total of 11,076 MHz of changed or new entries were included in the latest update to the PolicyTracker Spectrum Database (PSD), including an equal number of beauty contests and auctions.

In total, six countries completed spectrum auctions, mostly in Europe, but also in Australia and Jamaica. Another six countries, three in Africa and three in Asia, also assigned spectrum but using a beauty contest.

A total of 8,075 MHz of country-wide spectrum was auctioned over the last three months, but more than three-quarters of that comprised the 26 GHz band, which was auctioned in Australia, Denmark, Slovenia. The multi-band auctions in Denmark and Slovenia also included spectrum at 2.1 GHz whose licences are set to expire shortly. An unusually large amount of spectrum, 660 MHz, was assigned through beauty contests. Some of these were in countries, such as Japan, which traditionally use spectrum auctions. In Mauritius, which assigned 100 MHz at 2.6 GHz and 200 MHz at 3.5 GHz, a beauty contest was specifically chosen to help operators deploy 5G networks to avoid high spectrum costs. India, by contrast, used the format exceptionally for the 700 MHz to allow its rail network to use an LTE-based communications system.

The 3.5 GHz band, widely associated with 5G services, remains the most popular band to assign at the moment – half of all the countries that assigned spectrum made the C-Band available. One of those countries, the UK, immediately facilitated a swap of two blocks of 40 MHz to enable operators to have more contiguous spectrum holdings. More swaps might follow, pending further negotiations. Four countries also assigned the 700 MHz band.

The latest iteration of the PolicyTracker Spectrum Database (PSD) also includes updates regarding trades and amended licences, such as a 3.5 GHz band licence in Belgium which became valid for a wider geographic area.

The PSD is updated quarterly and is available as part of our  Spectrum Research Service.•