Five countries from four continents complete auctions in Q1 2022
Apr 14, 2022 by Toby Youell


Bands1800 MHz (2021), 2.1 GHz (2021), 2.3 GHz (2021), 2.6 GHz (2021), 3.3 - 3.8 GHz (2021), 700 MHz (2021), 800 MHz (2021), 900 MHz (2021), L-Band (2021)
Tags1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, Bangladesh, Belgium, Egypt, L-band, Latvia, Malysia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Pakistan, PSD, South Africa, Tanzania, United States

New iteration of PolicyTracker Spectrum Database sees spectrum auction slow down 

Five countries from four continents auctioned a total of 726 MHz of nationwide spectrum during Q1 2022. This includes South Africa, which sold almost all of the available spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3.3 – 3.8 GHz bands. The country’s first-ever auction, originally scheduled for over a decade ago, raised the equivalent of $970 million.  

The only other award of the 3.3 – 3.8 GHz band, widely considered the main global 5G band, was in the United States. The FCC released another 100 MHz in the 3.3 – 3.8 GHz band as part of its long-term effort to put more mid-band spectrum on the US market. The auction raised $22 billion, a lot of money but still cheaper on a $/MHz/POP basis than its 3.7 – 3.98 GHz band award last year. Its next mid-band award will be for the 2.6 GHz band, currently scheduled for July this year. 

Beyond Africa and the Americas, two regulators in Europe (Latvia and Montenegro) and one in Asia, Bangladesh, also completed auctions of the 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and L-Band. 

The PolicyTracker Spectrum Database (PSD) also takes into account changes arising from corporate or regulatory decisions. Specifically, Telenor’s exit from Myanmar and Milicom’s exit from Tanzania were both recorded.

Regulatory authorities in Belgium, Egypt, and Malaysia assigned and/or renewed licences for over 400 MHz across the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, and 2.6 GHz bands. The PSD also reflects Pakistan’s defragmentation of frequencies in the 1800 MHz band. 

In all, we made changes to over 1,400 MHz of nationwide spectrum assignments for developments in Q1, only a third of the amount of spectrum changes we recorded in Q4.  

The PolicyTracker Spectrum Database tracks allocations, assignments, and prices paid for spectrum. It is available as an Excel document and on Google Sheets. We have also made the data searchable through interactive datasets on our website here. It is updated quarterly and is available as part of the Spectrum Research Service.