Minister Micky Adriansen (economic affairs and climate) expects to be able to sell the last 5G frequencies in the Netherlands in the second half of 2023. The Cabinet wants the 3.5GHz frequency band available to service providers before the end of next year.
Mobile network traffic needs space. With the advent of new mobile network technology, governments are freeing up space. in 2016 The European Union required all member states to reserve the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz frequency bands for 5G networks.
Telecom companies have to pay to use the frequency bands. European countries divide the space by auctions. The highest bidders will get the right to transmit 5G signals. The earlier auctions are held, the faster service providers can serve customers.
The European Union has asked member states to auction off all 5G frequency bands by 2021. Most countries missed the deadline, including the Netherlands. The 700MHz and 26GHz bands are now divided, but the 3.5GHz band is missing. Minister Adriaansens recently introduced In a letter to Parliament It announced that the auction is not expected to take place until the second half of 2023.
Waiting for Immarsat
The 3.5GHz band is currently occupied by Immarsat, a satellite company that owns the band Ground station in Friesland. Immarsat uses the range for emergency communication with ships and aircraft. Frequency auction is risky as long as the company occupies the domain. 5G providers’ traffic may disrupt emergency communications.
Immarsat is ready to make room by moving the ground station from Friesland to Greece, but this step will take time. The company expects to complete the project in January 2024. Another option is to change the systems. Immarsat could make way for service providers from the end of 2023, but the company expects adjustments to take four months.
The government considers both options unattractive. It may take Immarsat years to wait before the tape becomes available. The government has been investigating an alternative in recent months. By rearranging the band, frequencies can be auctioned independently of the Immarsat system. For now, this plan is preferred, according to Minister Adriaansens Last message to Parliament.
Reclassification is preferred
The Ministry of Economic Affairs wants to provide two new 50MHz blocks to avoid friction with Immarsat traffic. The change must be incorporated into the National Frequency Plan (NFP). Adriaansens expects the process to be completed in February 2023.
“Accordingly, the 3.5GHz auction is scheduled to be implemented after the summer of 2023,” the minister said. “With this, I will continue to strive to make the 3.5 GHz band available for national mobile use (5G) from December 1, 2023.”
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