From 29 June, the Telecom Agency will auction access to the 700 MHz band, which is necessary for a nationwide 5G network. In addition to those frequencies, the 1400 and 2100 MHz bands are also auctioned. They can also be used for the 4G and 5G networks, but are not the most important.
The frequencies are provided to providers in the summer, who can then switch on their 5G network. The three major Dutch telecom providers will participate in the auction. The complete list of participants is not public. It is not yet known how long the auction will last.
Ready for 5G
KPN, T-Mobile and Vodafone have already prepared their networks for 5G in recent months; Vodafone has been offering 5G via a shared frequency with its 4G network since the end of April. KPN and T-Mobile are waiting until they have access to the new frequencies.
The providers are allowed to buy a maximum of 40 percent of the total number of available frequencies. For example, the government wants to guarantee a market with at least three mobile providers.
Like other networks, 5G in the Netherlands must meet strict international standards. The Telecom Agency will measure whether the exposure limits for electromagnetic radiation are met in several places.
Millions in revenue
The 700 MHz band will not yet deliver very fast download speeds promised with 5G. This will require access to the 3.5 GHz band, which is expected to be auctioned in 2022. Later, the 26 GHz band will also be available, for very high speeds over a short distance.
The frequencies are sold through an electronic auction system. That will probably earn millions to the state. The auction of the 4G frequencies, eight years ago, brought in 3.8 billion euros to the state. The cabinet anticipated a proceeds of 470 million euros in advance. This time, the proceeds are expected to amount to 900 million euros.