Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) announced seven companies will participate in the country’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction, which is projected to raise €2.5 billion. Mobile operators Iliad, Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italy and Wind Tre will be joined by fixed broadband operators Linkem, Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) and Open Fiber.
The auction is unusual in attracting so much interest from outside the existing mobile telecom sector. In sharp contrast, recent 5G auctions in South Korea, Spain and the UK have not produced new mobile challengers. Italy will be auctioning spectrum across a variety of bands, and not just the mid-range airwaves that were made available in Spain and the UK.
Companies will bid for licences in the 649MHz to 790MHz; 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz; and 26.5GHz to 27.5GHz frequencies, with the auction designed to create new entrants focused on boosting infrastructure in the market as well as making 5G-suitable spectrum available. MISE said that new low-cost operator Iliad was the only participant to indicate it would bid for spectrum in the 700 MHz band frequencies currently used by broadcasters, and where special conditions apply to new entrants.
The auction is scheduled to be held at the end of September, with half of the €2.5 billion raised this year. Allocation will, however, not be finalized before the end of 2022. Bidders are expected to submit initial offers by September 10th.
Under the tender’s rules, a new entrant (or remedy taker) can acquire up to three blocks of 2×5 MHz in the 700 MHz band of the six available, while an operator that has 10 MHz in both the 800 MHz band and in the 900 MHz band, can acquire just two of these blocks.
About Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE):
MISE is responsible for Internet Governance through participation in various international bodies and supervision of the assignment of domain names. It operates for IT security, certifying the security of systems and products and providing prevention and support services to citizens and businesses. It authorizes network providers to offer public access to the network and telecommunications services (ISP). It also promotes the dissemination of accessibility and usability of websites and, more generally, digital literacy. Finally, the Ministry supports the development of the ultra-broadband and defines the National Strategy together with Agid (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale) .
The development of ultra-broadband through the simplification of the regulatory framework, the creation of new development drivers, the use of tax incentives, the reduction of installation costs is a priority for achieving the objectives of the EU 2020 agenda.