On 22 March 2022, the Office of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (hereinafter as: NMHH) held a public consultation on ideas and market demands for frequency bands that can be used for the provision of wireless broadband services, in accordance with the provisions of Section 39 of Act C of 2003 on Electronic Communications (hereinafter: Electronic Communications Act). In the framework of the implementation of the Radio Spectrum Strategy, and in particular in response to the renewal request submitted with regard to the 450 MHz frequency band, the NMHH launched a public consultation to assess the market demand of potential stakeholders (e.g., operators, service providers, manufacturers, frequency users, institutions) for certain frequency bands and frequency sub-bands suitable for broadband wireless electronic communications services. The scope of the public consultation covered the 450 MHz, 700 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2600 MHz, 26 GHz and 32 GHz frequency bands (detailed descriptions were provided) and the 410-430 MHz and 3.8-4.2 GHz frequency bands.
The NMHH published the invitation to the public consultation on its website on 18 February 2022, together with the preparatory documents.
Pursuant to Section 39(5) of the Electronic Communications Act, the Authority will prepare a summary or record of the public consultation, containing the observations and proposals submitted or made, except for information classified as business secrets by the person presenting the observation or proposal. The Authority will publish the summary report on its website within thirty days of the date of the consultation.
This summary report, accordingly, summarises the key messages of the public consultation held on 22 March 2022 and includes as an annex the comments or observations received in relation to the public consultation in written form. Pursuant to Article 39(5) of the Electronic Communications Act, the information classified as business secrets by the person presenting the observation is not included in the document to be published.
The public consultation was opened by Dr. Emilia Ulelay, the chair of the event. Dr. Emilia Ulelay informed the participants that NMHH is making an audio recording of the event for the purpose of producing the summary report. No one raised any objections in this respect in their comments.
The participants of the public consultation were welcomed by Dr. Janka Aranyosné Börcs, Director General of the Office of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority. In her speech, the Director General said that the importance of digitalisation is not only known from EU policies, but is a challenge we face in our daily lives. The mission of the NMHH is to promote digitalisation and to provide the necessary infrastructure as soon as possible, and to the highest quality, with the means at its disposal, on the basis of careful and professional assessment. In terms of infrastructure, the public consultation will focus on the radio spectrum assets at our disposal. The two successful auctions in the two pandemic years have laid a good foundation for the roll-out of 5G, but the work of NMHH does not end there. On the one hand, NMHH is working on the further development of the conditions related to already distributed radio spectrum, in which technical regulatory conditions have not been adapted to 5G,yet , and on the other hand, on the utilisation of the as yet undistributed radio spectrum suitable for the provision of wireless broadband communications services. In addition, the expiry of the existing entitlement to radio spectrum use in the 450 MHz frequency band is approaching, which also has to be dealt with. In this context, we will look at the regulations on renewal according to the new Code.
In her introduction, the Director General drew attention to the fact that the comments, observations and opinions expressed will largely determine the future of the sector, as we will move forward on the basis of the market demands expressed here, thus encouraging everyone to express their views.
Péter Kollár, Head of Department and Dr. Emilia Ulelay, Deputy Head of Department, presented the possibilities of using the different bands. The presentation is available on the Authority's website (Hungarian only): https://nmhh.hu/dokumentum/227973/nyilvanos_meghallgatas_v1.pdf
The presentations of the Media Authority were followed by comments.
Ministry of Innovation and Technology and HungaroControl
Represented by Dr. Károly Balázs Solymár, Deputy State Secretary for Digitalisation
He declared spectrum demand related to the performance of a public task, which was also sent to the NMHH in written form within the respective deadline. NMHH provided for its publication prior to the consultation (Prior comments by HungaroControl). They are aware of the competing PPDR demand, but a public consultation is a good forum to learn about competing demands, so that issues can be clarified. HungaroControl is responsible for air traffic control. The role of drones in air traffic control is growing, and what we know about drones today will change dramatically, they hope. It should be considered that the drone traffic management system should become part of the single airspace use and airspace management system. The Drone Coalition was founded in May 2021. The demand for frequencies had arisen already then. After several consultations with the NMHH, it was concluded that the combined use of 2x5 MHz in the 700 MHz frequency band and a sub-band of 20 MHz close to the lower edge of the band in the 2300 MHz frequency band could solve the problem. PRO-M and the Ministry of Interior have applied for the use of the 700 MHz frequency band. They will be partners in the professional dialogue and will seek the assistance of the NMHH experts to find a suitable frequency band to meet their demands. In the dialogue, the spirit of cooperation and compromise on the part of both the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and HungaroControl can be counted on.
Represented by Márton Krenner
In his contribution, he explained Yettel Hungary's position band by band.
- 450 MHz – no civil use is planned.
- 700 MHz – at previous consultations they indicated that mobile use was planned, but since then there have been two auctions, which were attended in the knowledge that 2x5 MHz was not available for mobile. Therefore, the amount of spectrum below 1 GHz available to them is sufficient for them in the short and medium term. They need to see how traffic develops in these bands. In the longer term, it should definitely be distributed to mobile use.
- 1500 MHz – Not needed in the short term, but in the medium to long term, extra downlink capacity may be needed. Keep mobile use, but no need for competitive procedure.
- 2300 MHz – The amount of spectrum available in the 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz bands, respectively, obtained and extended entitlements, suffice for the 4G and 5G capacities. In any case, new equipment would be needed to use the 2300 MHz band. End-user equipment does not support this band as much, therefore they can accept other kind of utilization. They can accept the use of verticals and designation of the band for drone use.
- 2600 MHz – those who already have entitlements in this band can have claims for the use of the undistributed 15 MHz. For economic reasons, it provides little capacity for others, but would require significant investment.
- 26 GHz – They maintain the view expressed at previous consultations that the use of the 26 GHz frequency band for mobile purposes is not needed in the short term, but may be needed in the longer term. Manufacturers are starting to phase out support for this band in newer devices, based on what they know, because in places where they have related experience (especially in the US), they find that it is primarily a band suitable for fixed wireless access, not for mobile use. In view of this, they are holding off on using the band for mobile purposes, but intend to use their existing micro, P-P connections until the end of their entitlement.
- 32 GHz – Colleagues at Cetin will provide detailed feedback.
Ministry of Interior
Represented by Viktor Pálfi (Information Technology Department)
As a follow-up to the announcement by the State Secretary, he indicated that the Ministry of Interior's medium-term strategic plans for the PPDR network include the use of the 700 MHz frequency band to achieve nationwide coverage in the 2x5 MHz block that has not been used so far. They are open to consultation with the involvement of the NMHH. They submitted their demands in written form in a document which is publicly available on the NMHH website (Prior comments by the Ministry of Interior). For that reason, they only briefly identified their demands in their contribution. The 2300 MHz frequency band is seen as a possible solution for capacity expansion in larger, high traffic areas, critical locations and large cities. They know that there is range for non.civil purposes in the band, but it is mostly military use, so they will be making a timely claim for PPDR use in the near future. The 26 GHz 5G pioneer frequency band has also been requested by the Ministry of Interior for future 5G use. They want to avoid the experience of other European countries in regard to the 700 MHz, where the PPDR demand arose when commercial distribution had already been completed, and hence there was no spectrum left. They do not yet see a specific solution, but they already indicate that they will have a 5G-related PPDR demand in the 26 GHz frequency band.
Represented by Dr. Gabriella Kövesi
Increasingly, the dilemma for Telekom in public consultations is how to find the fine line between sharing information with competitors about their plans for network developments and sharing the information that the authority needs to develop an effective spectrum strategy. Therefore, she will not speak at length, but respond to the statements.
She expressed thanks for the informative and impressive presentation, which helped to organise thoughts.
It is a general observation that service providers and Magyar Telekom do not request spectrum block provision prematurely, not only because of the need to ensure efficient spectrum management, but also because of the need to ensure efficient financial management and business conduct, as Telekom believes that annual band fees are still very high. They recommend a review of the annual band fees to the Authority.
They agree with the Authority's summary statement and those who have spoken before them that the decision of the administrative body responsible for the use for PPDR purposes and the provision of the service is the relevant one. This is also true for the 450 MHz and 700 MHz frequency bands. They participated in the 700 MHz frequency band auction with the knowledge that five blocks were available. This enables them to serve customers efficiently.
Because of the time scope, for them the most important statements and recommendations are those relating to the 26 GHz and 32 GHz frequency bands. In the 26 GHz frequency band, they have different expiry dates for their entitlements. They do not support fragmented sales methods, subsequent redundant rearrangement, nor 5-year use patterns. They accept requests from others to stay in place until the expiry of the entitlements. However, in order to make the transition as smooth as possible and with the least possible impact on service continuity, it is proposed to put the sale of 32 GHz on the agenda as soon as possible, even in 2022.
For the non-harmonised bands, they do not see a business demand. They are open to considering the 2300 MHz demands, they do not consider its use to be indispensable.
Represented by Magdolna Csömör
They welcome the opportunity for a new dialogue, which is not only good practice on the part of the Authority, but also a legal obligation for the NMHH. This is extremely useful for both the industry and the regulator.
They received high-quality professional preparatory material, for which they expressed thanks. They submitted their comments in written form, which they, sharing Telekom's dilemma, provided to the Authority in a version that was free of business secrets and in one containing business secrets, because they also considered the issues to be sensitive. In particular, the sector is going through a busy period, following two auctions where very significant investments were made.
It is important that any further regulatory intervention should take into account the factors that influenced the operators' strategy at the time of the auctions.
She highlighted three themes from their written comments, which she shared with the participants during the consultation.
Vodafone is not involved in the 450 MHz frequency band, and there are no plans to use it either.
However, they support the opening of the 32 GHz frequency band to fixed terrestrial wireless links, but only after an impact assessment. Further steps should be determined in light of the impact assessment.
With regard to the 3800-4200 MHz, they maintain the position they have already expressed on the verticals, namely that verticals currently have a choice in selecting the various alternative options that can support them in implementing their 5G solutions, in particular private network mobile solutions and the leasing scheme. This freedom of choice must be maintained. Any regulatory intervention in this regard must be supported by an impact assessment to ensure that the intervention is truly justified and welfare-enhancing.
The preparatory materials did not address the distribution of the 6 GHz frequency band. However, they would like to stress the importance of this. A proportionate and balanced regulatory solution for the use of the upper part of the band must be found, so that a balance between public mobile and other licence-exempt solutions can be found as a result of a dialogue between the regulator and the industry, which serves both European and national digitalisation objectives, ensuring social and economic benefits and best use.
Hungarian Defence Forces Command, Infocommunication and Information Security Directorate
Represented by Lieutenant Colonel István Deli
In their comments, they expressed that the presentation and the materials and band overviews published in advance accurately reflected defence forces interests in relation to the frequency bands discussed, which, according to their aims, can be effectively aligned with future civilian needs. As is well known, the Defence and Military Development Programme is currently underway to modernise and renew the Hungarian Defence Forces in all its aspects, and to facilitate this, the defence/military needs are included in the current NMHH Radio Spectrum Strategy. NMHH provided data for planning purposes for the procurement of several items of world-class military equipment. The Hungarian Defence Forces also participate as observers in NATO development programmes, so that they can identify and indicate the arising frequency bands and the demand for these bands in due time.
Represented by Zsolt Kozma
They expressed their thanks for the consultation opportunity, the preparatory materials and the presentation, which were very useful and of high quality. They specifically wished to comment on the 32 GHz frequency band as a replacement for the 26 GHz frequency band. They consider this band as a potential technology, a replacement band, but its replacing capacity is limited. Alternative technologies are also available. With technological advances, the dominance of 5G in terms of the perimeter network function will increase. The demand for higher bandwidth will dominate significantly in metropolitan areas. Very high capacity will be needed, so the 32 GHz will only be able to replace it to a limited extent. Very large blocks should be considered, i.e. it depends on the definition of the conditions how much the frequency band can act as a replacement. In the fee structure, the relative value of the band changes and decreases, CETIN believes.
Represented by Bálint Tibold
They wished to address a less discussed issue, the possibility of campus networks for industry players. Over the last year and a half or two years, the usability of 5G has been raised several times within the Volkswagen Concern through several use cases. In Germany and at their various sites, its frequency use is ensured both indoors and outdoors. Some bandwidth is available to industry players for this purpose. Last year, a survey was launched in Hungary with the support of Vodafone and Telekom. Needs were assessed, existing use cases at Audi Hungária were examined. As industrial participants, they wish to have dedicated frequency band. To this end, they have already consulted with the representative of the NMHH. The 1.5 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands were mentioned as candidates. They wished to receive information on the strategy relating to this. Further dialogue will be needed between the parties.
Represented by Zoltán Lázár
They comment reflecting on the opinion of Audi Hungária. They expressed their thanks for the opportunity to get an overview of the spectrum. They were pleased that NMHH recognised the importance of verticals, especially in the bands above 2300 MHz and 3800 MHz. Nokia is offering its support to this.
Represented by Viktor Kohári
Pro-M wished to express an opinion and demand in relation to the broadband PPDR demands. The representative of the Ministry of Interior has already presented the conceptual demands. Examples from Western Europe show that 450 MHz broadband PPDR use is not supported due to existing technological limitations, and that the world is not moving in this direction. The German example is also a different type, an industrial type of use. They see no perspective in using 450 MHz broadband PPDR.
On the part of the NMHH, we drew attention to the legislative changes, whereby the NMHH was obliged to publish the preparatory documents 10 days prior to the consultation before the implementation of the Code. Based on the changes, NMHH published the preparatory materials together with the notice of public consultation 30 days before the event. The opinions received are, however, very important, because they are the basis for making a well-founded decision. NMHH has provided the possibility to submit comments and opinions until the end of the month.
On behalf of the Media Authority, the event was closed by Dr. Janka Aranyosné Börcs.
In her closing remarks, she thanked everyone for their active participation and words of praise. NMHH will take the utmost account of what has been said and of the written comments received.
Whitten comments are available in the "Related content" block (see sidebar).
Written commenst had been sent by the following stakeholders:
- Antenna Hungária Zrt.
- AH NET Távközlési Szolgáltató Zrt.
- Audi Hungária Zrt.
- Ministry of Interior
- BMW Manifactoring Kft
- Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (VIK)
- DIGI Távközlési és Szolgáltató Kft.
- Hungaro DigiTel Kft.
- GE Hungary Kft.
- Magyar Telekom Nyrt.
- Nokia Solutions and Networks Kft.
- University of Óbuda
- Pro-M Zrt
- Vodafone Hungary Zrt.