North Macedonian regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEK) has announced that it has received four expressions of interest from telecommunications operators in participating in a planned auction for the allocation of frequencies for 5G networks.
This process began about six weeks ago, on 1 June, when AEK invited expressions of interest in the proposed auction. Now three operators – Makedonski Telekom, A1 Makedonija and Bitstream Mobile – have said they are interested in licences for national coverage in 700MHz and 3GHz spectrum. A fourth operator, Neotel, expressed interest in licences for regional coverage in the 3GHz band only.
The agency plans to grant three licences for the use of radio frequencies in 700MHz spectrum, seven in the 3GHz band and four licences in the 26GHz band. Ten of the licences will be issued for national coverage. Four will be granted for regional coverage. The licences will be issued for a period of 15 years and may be extended by up to five years.
Base prices have apparently already been set for the licences: a starting price of €6 million ($7.1 million) for licences in 700MHz spectrum, €3 million for those in the 3GHz band and €300,000 for the licences in 26GHz spectrum.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, under the licences’ terms and conditions, at least one major city must be covered by 5G technology by 2023. The intention is that there will be 5G coverage in all major urban areas and terrestrial transport routes by 2027.
By the end of 2029, 100 percent of the population (the country is home to a little under 2.1 million people) must have access to a 5G signal with a minimum downlink of 100Mbps.