The strategic agreements signed today by the President of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) and the leaders of Hungarian mobile operators serve this purpose by laying down a stable foundation for the dynamic development of the digital economy, while also contributing to the state budget by frequency utilisation revenues in excess of HUF 100 billion.
The partnership agreements concluded with the mobile operators include all contract amendments that guarantee the safe and sustainable growth of the mobile market and provide a predictable framework for encouraging further investments in the sector. The agreements set forth the terms and conditions of frequency utilisation until April 2022 and, as an additional benefit, they establish a suitable foundation for a forward-looking interest harmonisation between three important parties: the NMHH, as the organisation exercising state property rights, the mobile operators, which fulfil a strategic role in Hungary’s digital economy, and subscribers.
Based on the former public contracts, Magyar Telekom, Telenor and Vodafone would have retained their frequency utilisation rights in the 1,800 MHz frequency band until 7 October 2014, while in respect of the 900 MHz band, right of use would have expired on 8 October 2014 for Vodafone and on 4 May 2016 for Telenor and Magyar Telekom. Under the agreements signed today, the President of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority and the respective mobile operators extended, with mutual consent, and also harmonised the term of their individual frequency licenses; thus the uniform expiration dates of the three Hungarian mobile operators’ frequency licenses in the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz frequency bands are 7 April 2022 and 8 April 2022, respectively.
The extension of the licenses and the harmonisation of their expiration dates provide a framework for the progress of the Hungarian mobile market with a heretofore unprecedented level of predictability and transparency. By signing the strategic partnership agreements with the mobile operators, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority also intended to give another boost to the coverage and capacity expansion of mobile broadband services and hence, market competition. The contracting parties mutually agreed that this step was the fundamental interest of the Hungarian society as a whole and the national economy, as it not only contributes to improving consumer welfare and the competitiveness of domestic enterprises, but also facilitates sustainable economic development.
These public contract amendments have also opened the way for the utilisation of the 800 MHz spectrum, freed up as a result of the digital switchover. In line with its spectrum strategy and current plans, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority will commence an auction procedure, as early as this year, in respect of the utilisation of the frequencies which are not included in the agreements and owned exclusively by the state.