Swedish telecom regulator kicks off 5G spectrum auction

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The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) confirmed its auction for licenses in the 3.5 GHz and 2.3GHz bands started today.

“The licenses are attractive for increasing capacity for mobile broadband services and are expected to be central for 5G development in Sweden,” the regulator said in a statement.

The auction in the 3.5 GHz band will be followed by the 2.3 GHz auction. The 3.5 GHz band is in total comprised of 320 megahertz, divided into a maximum of 15 national licenses. The 2.3 GHz band consists of 80 megahertz, a maximum of 8 national licenses.

PTS said that the auction format is a clock auction conducted in several bidding rounds. PTS believes that the auction will take between two to ten working days, but it may take longer.

Last week, The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden dismissed an appeal filed by Huawei against its exclusion from the country’s 5G network rollout, paving the way for the launch of the spectrum auction.

The court said that its ruling is final and therefore cannot be appealed. Huawei said it was still awaiting decisions on two other appeals it filed in November last year in relation to the ban imposed by the regulator.

The regulator had previously won an appeal against an injunction granted by Stockholm Administrative Court to Huawei, after the Chinese vendor had made objections to the auction conditions prohibiting it from supplying 5G equipment.

In November, PTS decided to put on hold the 5G spectrum auction—which had been scheduled to begin on November 10, 2020—after a court in Stockholm issued a ruling suspending parts of its decision that had excluded Huawei from the country’s 5G networks.

In October, PTS had confirmed that four mobile operators were approved to take part in the 5G spectrum auction. Hi3G Access, Net4Mobility, Telia Sverige and Teracom had been approved for participation in the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz auctions.

The regulator also introduced a number of regulations to strengthen the security of future 5G networks in the Nordic country, which resulted in a ban for Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

The regulator had previously said that an examination of applications for the 5G auction had been conducted in consultation with the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Security Service, to ensure that the use of radio equipment in these bands does not cause harm to Sweden´s security.

PTS said that license holder shall take necessary technical and organizational actions to safeguard that the radio use according to the license does not cause harm to Sweden’s security.

PTS highlighted that new installations and new implementation of central functions for the radio use in the frequency bands must not be carried out with products from Chinese vendors Huawei or ZTE. “If existing infrastructure for central functions is to be used to provide services in the concerned frequency bands, products from Huawei and ZTE must be phased out on January 1 2025 at the latest,” PTS said.

The head of Swedish vendor Ericsson recently said he was worried about Chinese reprisals after Sweden banned Huawei from taking part in the rollout of 5G network.

“I hope there will be no impact,” Börje Ekholm told a local newspaper. “China accounts for 8% of our revenue. For us it has been a strategically important issue to be present in China,” Ekholm added.

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