Croatian Telcos Will Pay €339 Million for RF Spectrum
The Croatian Regulatory Agency for Network Activities (HAKOM) has allocated radio frequency spectrum for mobile communication networks in the frequency bands 800 MHz (791-821/832-862 MHz), 900 MHz (880-915 MHz/ 925-960 MHz), 1800 MHz ( 1710-1785/1805-1880 MHz), 2100 MHz (1920-1980/2110-2170 MHz), 2600 MHz (2500-2570/2620-2690 MHz) at the national level and 3600 MHz (3400-3480 MHz) at the regional level.
Bidding at the regional level took place in three rounds in the main bidding phase, without the need to conduct an award phase. The total amount of fees for the use of the RF spectrum that was achieved at the public auction for the frequency band 3600 MHz at the regional level is €187,150.00. The total amount of fees for the use of the RF spectrum at the national and regional level, which was achieved at the public auction, amounts to €339,186,745.00. Fees collected through the auction are paid in full to the benefit of the state budget.
The bidding process started on January 16, 2023, and lasted six weeks, and the decision to select the most favorable bidders was made on March 8, 2023. The bidding process included the main bidding phase and the frequency block allocation phase. In the main bidding phase, bidders simultaneously submitted bids for the right to use one or more frequency blocks for all frequency bands. After the end of the main bidding phase, which determined the amount of radio frequency spectrum to be allocated to each bidder, the allocation phase was held, which determined the final distribution of the radio frequency spectrum among bidders, i.e. the exact position of each bidder's frequency blocks within a certain frequency band. Permits are issued for 15 years for all allocation areas with the possibility of extension for a maximum of five years, as determined by EU-level rules.
The results of bidding in the public auction procedure for the frequency bands 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2600 MHz at the national level are listed in the following table:
Bidding at the national level took place in 309 rounds in the main bidding phase, and one round for each frequency band in the allocation phase.
The total amount of fees for the use of the RF spectrum that was achieved at the public auction for the frequency bands 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2600 MHz at the national level amounts to €338,999,595.00.
For frequency bands at the national level, the obligation to cover 99.4 percent of the population in the territory of the Republic of Croatia by December 31, 2029, with a minimum reception signal level of -110 dBm has been determined. In most cases, this ensures a satisfactory quality of service with speeds of at least 10 (DL)/2 (UL) Mbit/s in open space.
It is important to point out that the currently granted licenses for the frequency bands 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2600 MHz expire in 2024, and this allocation ensures the uninterrupted operation of public mobile communications networks and the provision of services to end users with regulatory predictability.
The spectrum in the 3600 MHz frequency band that was not allocated in the 2021 auction was reallocated at the regional (county) level to create business opportunities for smaller, regional operators and encourage the variety of services and provide end users with greater choices. The outcome of the auction is shown in the following table: