India’s huge 5G auction dominates in recent spectrum assignments
Oct 19, 2022 by Richard Haas


Bands3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 800 MHz, 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 26 GHz, L-Band, 900 MHz
Tags2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 26 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, Estonia, India, Kenya, L-band, Lithuania, Macau, United States

The latest iteration of the PolicyTracker spectrum database has recorded auctions involving over 3600 MHz of spectrum. A total of eight awards were recorded in seven different countries.

The vast majority of the spectrum sold—71.6 per cent—was awarded in India’s record-breaking 5G auction. This share is reduced to 27 per cent if we exclude the country’s 26 GHz award.

The award was the country’s most lucrative spectrum auction to date, raising a total of $19 billion. Despite being hailed as a success by the authorities, both the 2.3 GHz band and 600 MHz bands went entirely unsold. In some bands, such as 700 and 800 MHz, licences were sold to just one operator.

Elsewhere, EU member states Lithuania and Estonia are inching closer to assigning all the EU-mandated 5G pioneer bands. Both countries sold the 3.5 GHz band and Lithuania also awarded the 700 MHz band.

The US auction of the 2.6 GHz band was less eventful than expected. Mobile operator T-Mobile dominated the award by snapping up the vast majority of licences, which were sold on a county basis. The operator now has an average of 117.5 MHz of additional mid-band spectrum to bolster its 5G efforts.

Our spectrum database also keeps track of direct administrative assignments. South Korean operator LG Uplus was awarded 20 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, bringing its mid-band spectrum in line with the competition. Kenyan operator Airtel was awarded 60 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band. A licence extension was also recorded in Macau.

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. It is updated quarterly and is available as part of the Spectrum Research Service.