Israel wants smart city planning ahead of 5G spectrum auction

Israel wants smart city planning ahead of 5G spectrum auction

The Israeli government appears to be keen to encourage operators to make plans for the next 5G spectrum auction with a call for smart city-focused rollout.

With the country about to launch its second 5G tender Communications Ministry Director-general Liran Avisar Ben Horin has been promoting such 5G-led smart city applications as smart traffic lights (to prevent congestion and accidents), and remote medical care.

Quoted by Reuters, she has said: "I call on cellular companies to deploy 5G sites all over the country to improve the quality of life of their customers and place Israel at the forefront of global innovation."

Cellular operators that share a network will be allowed to participate in the tender alone or by submitting a joint offer.

However, it is not yet clear how much the new frequencies will cost mobile companies. Another cost could be infrastructure. For the government’s smart city ambitions to be put into effect, very dense network rollout will be required as broadband frequencies above 24GHz may have issues with range.

The auction for the spectrum in the 700MHz, 2,600MHz and 3.5GHz bands in August 2020 saw discounts offered to cash-strapped cellular phone operators in this highly competitive market to encourage bidding. All three bands have since been deployed by mobile operators.

The Communications Ministry had suggested it would offer ultra-fast broadband frequencies above 24GHz late in 2021 or early 2022, so this appears to be quite a significant delay.

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