Irish mobile operators this week received the opportunity to extend their temporary spectrum licences for another three months. These licences were originally assigned as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated rapidly in Europe in early 2020. A flurry of regulators issued temporary spectrum authorisations, but normal spectrum management quickly resumed, and several delayed spectrum auctions proceeded after short delays.
COVID-19 may have dominated the last 12 months in general, but our review of mobile operators’ spectrum strategies reveals preoccupation with another phenomenon: 5G. The large majority of the operators we cover have started deploying 5G networks. Verizon and NTT Docomo in particular are promoting their “aggressive” efforts. For Softbank and Deutsche Telekom, these 5G efforts encompass High-Altitude Platform Services. Faced with the cost of rolling out a new technology, many operators are turning to Open Radio Access Networks to avoid vendor-lock in.
More detail about these trends are available in our updated profile of ten of the biggest mobile operators. These are available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.