A spectrum strategy is the result of a careful balancing act between various policy objectives. On the one hand, regulators want to help their mobile operators build fast networks, but on the other they also want to enable competition. Incumbent services should be taken into account, and space should be made for entirely new services that we haven’t thought of yet.
Of course, regulators have seldom been chided by their governments for holding lucrative auctions.
In the case of the Russian Federation, however, two objectives have prevailed above the others. It wants to promote its own industry, and it does not want to interfere with military operations. For these reasons, the 4.8 – 4.99 GHz will be made available as mid-band for 5G, rather than the more commonly-assigned 3.5 GHz bands. Further, all 5G operators will need to use equipment built in Russia.
In an acknowledgment that this will be expensive for operators, the government is seeking to help out by encouraging them to use a joint venture to obtain and use the spectrum. But such an arrangement does not satisfy smaller operators, who fear the joint venture would be dominated by MegaFon and Rostelecom.
Further information is available in our newly updated profile of spectrum policy in the Russian Federation, available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.