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Switzerland Completes 5G Auction

Swiss telecoms watchdog the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has completed its auction of 5G-compatible spectrum, awarding airwaves in the 700MHz, 1400MHz and 3500MHz bands to the trio of active mobile network operators – Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt – and generating CHF379 million (USD378 million) for the treasury. UK-based wholesale provider Dense Air also participated in the auction but failed to secure any frequencies.

Mobile market leader Swisscom paid CHF195.6 million for 2×15MHz (three 2×5MHz blocks) in the 700MHz band and 120MHz of unpaired spectrum in the 3500MHz range, as well as 50MHz of supplementary downlink (SDL) frequencies in the 1400MHz band. Salt paid the next-highest amount at CHF94.5 million for 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band, 80MHz in the 3500MHz band and 10MHz of SDL 1400MHz frequencies. Finally, Sunrise was awarded 2×5MHz of paired spectrum and 1×10MHz of SDL airwaves in the 700MHz range, as well as 100MHz of 3500MHz frequencies and 15MHz of SDL spectrum in the 1400MHz band. Sunrise paid CHF89.2 million for its allocation.

Three 5MHz blocks in the 1400MHz (SDL) band and 5MHz of 700MHz (SDL) frequencies, as well as a 2×5MHz block in the 2600MHz range leftover from a previous tender, were left unsold.

Commenting on the results, Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee was quoted as saying: ‘We prepared meticulously for the auction, resulting in prudent use of our resources to secure valuable spectrum. This clever bidding strategy has secured the implementation of our 5G strategy as planned … We were able to acquire the strategically most important bands at a very favorable price per MHz, even better than the competition … We are therefore very satisfied with the outcome of the auction. Now it’s up to the Federal Council to amend mobile network radiation limits so the economy and entire population can really benefit from this positive starting point.’

A press release from Salt, meanwhile, announced that the company would be using the frequencies to introduce 5G services later this year, setting its sights on a Q3 launch. The cellco noted that the 700MHz frequencies were vital to its portfolio for providing deeper indoor 5G coverage. The 3500MHz and 1400MHz frequencies would be used ‘to deliver extreme mobile broadband with super-fast speeds and ultra-robust low-latency connectivity for consumers as well as for IoT.’―Tele Geography

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