NMHH is preparing another frequency auction

Published: 15 September 2020

On 15 September, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) published on its website for comments a draft documentation of the auctioning procedure for the entitlements in the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz frequency bands scheduled to expire the Spring of 2022. Three mobile operators currently provide services on these frequencies.

In the planned procedure, the NMHH will sell frequencies that are also suitable for the provisioning of broadband services and with which domestic mobile operators started mobile services at the time: in the 900 MHz frequency band it will be possible to bid for a total of 60 MHz, and in the 1,800 MHz frequency band for a total of 120 MHz.

After studying and processing the comments to the draft document published on 15 September and finalizing the draft, the sales procedure is expected to start in October and is planned to close in the first quarter of 2021.

The frequency use entitlements of the three service providers currently providing services on these frequencies are scheduled to expire on 7 and 8 April 2022, respectively, which, similarly to the procedure of the 5G frequencies closed in the spring of this year, will be sold at an auction by the NMHH.

The entitlements will be valid for fifteen years from 8 and 9 April 2022 and may be renewed once for five years. Market players may also submit their questions regarding the auction, the characteristics of the frequency pool, the draft documentation and the details of the procedure at a professional consultation online and in person on 29 September.

With the timing of the auction, the NMHH aims to ensure the usability of the frequencies in a timely manner and that the expiration of the entitlements in the spring of 2022 and the possible switchover do not cause any disruption in the provision of services.

The significance of mobile services

In the past decades, mobile services have become an integral part of social and economic life, and the coronavirus pandemic brought this technology to the forefront even more. Currently, development of the next generation mobile networks focus primarily on a significant increase in data transmission speed, a low delay enabling real-time control and communication, a drastic increase of network-related devices (sensors and other smart tools) and more secure service provisioning.

The European harmonization of the 900 and 1,800 MHz frequency bands began in the 1990s, which was a worldwide success for the European mobile communications industry.  With the new frequency use entitlements, Hungary will be at the forefront of the world in terms of the distributed amount of broadband-ready but otherwise technology-neutral spectrum in line with the latest regulatory requirements.