Bulgaria’s 3.6GHz 5G spectrum auction finally goes ahead

Bulgaria’s 3.6GHz 5G spectrum auction finally goes ahead

It appears that the dispute over 5G licenses in Bulgaria has been resolved after an apparently successful 3.6GHz spectrum auction finally took place recently.

According to an announcement from the telecoms regulator the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) on Tuesday, Bulgaria's main operators won frequencies in the 3.6GHz spectrum for next-generation 5G wireless networks at an auction that raised 13.4 million levs (approximately $8.1 million) for the state.

Reuters has reported that, after seven binding rounds, three operators – Vivacom, owned by United Group, Czech PPF's Telenor Bulgaria and A1, part of Austria's A1 Group – each won spectrum.

This auction was not necessarily part of the regulator’s plans. It was held after Vivacom contested a decision to allocate the three 20-year 5G licences without competition.

As regular readers will know, the CRC decided to close a 5G auction and grant each of the country’s three major operators a licence in the 3.6GHz spectrum without competition after reviewing their applications for the process.

Vivacom was not happy with this and started legal proceedings over the way the licences were assigned. Given fears that this that could delay development of the country’s 5G networks, the regulator apparently decided to go ahead with the original auction plan.

According to Reuters, Vivacom and A1 have already launched 5G services with temporary frequencies and Telenor Bulgaria has held 5G trials.

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