ANACOM makes way for 5th Mobile Generation

ANACOM has already begun to prepare the launch of the 5th generation mobile communications system and will listen to the market to assess the interest of operators in the bands that technologically make it possible to develop the various services that can be provided with this new mobile generation, including Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) communications.

Following the European Decision for the release of the 700 MHz band for terrestrial electronic communications services, which should be implemented by mid-2020, it is important to move this process forward. The change to 5G is very important because of the enormous potential it brings in terms of innovation and development in the sector and for the country.

ANACOM's objective is to ascertain the interest that manufacturers, operators, private and public entities, users, and others have in the provision of the 700 MHz band, as well as other bands in which there could be interest in simultaneous availability. It also wishes to find out the market opinion on the procedure to be adopted to make the allocation of the spectrum, since the law provides that it can be in the full accessibility regime or be subject to competitive or comparitive selection procedures, that is to say, auction or tender. It would also like to know under what conditions the spectrum should be allocated, and the conditions of use.

In addition to the 700 MHz band, which is considered particularly suitable to ensure the provision of broadband services in rural areas, ANACOM wants to know what interest there is for the allocation of spectrum in the 450 MHz, 900 MHz, 1500 MHz, 1800 MHz , 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 3.6 GHz, and 26 GHz frequency bands.

As regards the 450 MHz band, this consultation also includes an application for the allocation of spectrum for private use.

The provision of these bands could enable new commercial operations, particularly for the supply of mobile broadband services by entities that are not yet in the market or by suppliers of electronic communications services and/or network operators that are already operating in the market. In this context, the change to 5G also represents an opportunity for cooperation between the various actors and sectors, in particular through co-investment and infrastructure sharing, which will benefit all those involved.

With a view to releasing the 700 MHz band, ANACOM has been working with its counterparts in Spain and Morocco to coordinate the use of frequencies in order to prevent interference in the services that will operate in that band. The agreement with the Spanish administration was signed at the end of 2017 and work is being finalized with the Moroccan regulator.

It should be recalled that the release of the 700 MHz band for terrestrial electronic communications services will also lead to the migration of the current digital terrestrial television network to another frequency band. To ensure that consumers have right of access to free TV, ANACOM has been analysing the costs and benefits of a number of migration solutions/scenarios of the current network.

The public consultation on making spectrum available will run for 30 working days, ending on 19 April.