New broadband frequency use options will be sold by the NMHH for four bands this year

Published: 24 April 2019

The National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) is working on two main frequency sales projects this year. On the one hand, over 600 MHz of frequency will be sold on the 700 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3600 MHz frequency bands this year, and on the other hand, the tender announced in April for the expiring entitlement to frequency use of the terrestrial digital television broadcasting network, for which offers may be submitted on 30 April, is already being conducted simultaneously.

As a consequence of market interest and professional consultations, from among the seven bands examined, the Infocommunications Authority will initiate the sales procedure in four frequency bands this year – in the 700 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3600 MHz frequency bands, while the 1500 MHz, 2300-2400 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands will be set aside for the time being – stated Monika Karas, the President of the NMHH on Wednesday during a press talk. The 700 MHz frequency band will be transferred from terrestrial digital television broadcasting for the purposes of broadband mobile use, particularly to support the introduction of 5G, she added. The President emphasised that the frequency sales package for broadband mobile purposes and the broadcasting tender are the two most significant communications tasks of the authority for this year, based on the National Roadmap, the Radio Spectrum Strategy of the NMHH prepared in 2017, international coordination agreements, as well as international and Hungarian provisions.

The Hungarian digital market could be expanded with over 400 MHz of frequency this year

The President also noted that autonomous Hungarian spectrum management turns fifty this year, as the Spectrum Management Department was established within the Hungarian State Postal Service (Magyar Posta) in 1969, which became an autonomous body as the Spectrum Management Institute thirty years ago, and the first mobile frequency bands have been licensed by Hungary as a part of concession rights 25 years ago. During the past twenty-five years, frequencies have been sold for mobile purposes successfully five times, in a quantity of over 600 MHz, and this year, over 400 MHz will be offered by the authority to the operators in order for the participants of the mobile market to be able to comply with market demands concerning broadband data traffic, and 5G developments. This spring the authority has performed spectrum purity and band usage analyses on the 5G test station operating in the 3600 MHz frequency band in Zalaegerszeg, and the results showed that the station operates duly, and within the health effects emission limit, the President said.

Monika Karas explained that at the professional consultations, the Infocommunications Authority has also discussed the 26 GHz frequency band identified as a pioneer band for 5G among the goals of the EU, but there was no market interest as yet, in view of the existing intensive usage in particular, and immediate 5G usage is also hindered by regulatory harmonisation defects. The 700 MHz and 3600 MHz bands constitute harmonised 5G pioneer bands below 6 GHz, but non-pioneer bands that may be used for 5G in the near future are also available in addition to these, although no entitlement to frequency use is associated to these yet: these include the 2100 MHz and the 2600 MHz frequency bands, which shall be sold by the authority this year according to the current plans. The NMHH is also working on the renewal of usage in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands due in the following years, in particular regarding the expiring entitlements to frequency use.

The draft documentation of the procedure to be initiated for the sales of the four frequency bands planned to be sold this year shall be made available by the Infocommunications Authority on its website for review, presumably at the beginning of summer. Subsequently, professional consultations shall be held for stakeholders, and the results are expected to be announced in autumn. Thus, the Infocommunications Authority has taken all steps within its competence through which it can promote the introduction of 5G.

The offers for the terrestrial digital television broadcasting tender will arrive on 30 April

Janka Aranyosné Börcs, the Director-General of the NMHH provided information on the current situation of the terrestrial digital television broadcasting tender. Applications for the call for tender made available on 10 April are expected on 30 April. The formal validity of the offers shall be determined until the middle of May. After the incidental remediation of deficiencies, the list of registered participants are expected to be made public at the beginning of June. With the examination of substantive validity, the evaluation phase shall be closed by the NMHH by the end of summer at the latest, but an earlier result is also possible.

The winner of the tender must provide public television channels and radio stations without subscription in the same quality and through the same receivers with a coverage of 98 per cent of the population after 2020. The entitled party must deploy and operate five networks (two networks using the current DVB-T and MPEG4 AVC technology and three networks using the new DVB-T2 and HEVC technology) for a period of twelve years starting from 6 September 2020.