Only one spectrum auction took place in Q2 2020
Jul 29, 2020 by Toby Youell


The latest iteration of the PolicyTracker Spectrum Database (PSD) takes into account changes to less than 5500 MHz of spectrum worldwide since March 2020—about half the amount recorded in Q1 2020. Unusually, none of these changes arose from auctions of spectrum below 6 GHz.

The slowdown in assignments is particularly acute for awards of newly-available or expired spectrum below 6 GHz. The first three months of 2020 saw over 1500 MHz of this kind of spectrum awarded. Only 369 MHz of it has been assigned since then.

The majority of such awards normally use market mechanisms, but recent planned auctions in Denmark and New Zealand used alternative assignment techniques. Only in New Zealand was this due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore, the only other country to award spectrum below 6 GHz, had always planned to award its 3.5 GHz spectrum through a beauty contest.

Finland completed the only spectrum auction of the quarter. It sold 2400 MHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz band in one day for €21 million, the equivalent of $0.0017/MHz/POP.

The new iteration of the PSD also takes into account four trades comprising a total of around 160 MHz. This included a 2 x 10 MHz block in the 2.1 GHz band that Deutsche Telekom (DT) had acquired at last year’s auction. Those licences only become valid in 2021, but DT has acquired access to the band early from its current licence holder Telefonica.

Other changes to the PSD include the VHA/TPG merger in Australia, a planned reshuffling of the 900 MHz band in the Czech Republic and cancelled spectrum rights for the 2.1 GHz band in Cambodia.

The PSD tracks changes to global spectrum allocations and assignments from awards, beauty contests, renewals or the results of trades. It is updated quarterly and is available as part of our Spectrum Research Service.•