A regulatory proposal to reduce frequency fees could see Bulgaria’s government begin issuing 5G-ready spectrum in the second quarter of 2020.
Ivan Dimitrov, the head of Bulgaria’s Communication Regulation Commission (CRC), confirmed that frequencies in the 700MHz and 3600MHz bands would be made available.
The regulator – with the backing of the transport ministry - has proposed cutting fees by 30%-50% to expedite 5G deployment. The Council of Ministers will vote on the proposal, with pricing to be decided depending on whether it is adopted.
Dimitrov commented: “The idea is to find the proper balance – to pay enough for the frequencies but also have enough funds left to invest in the necessary infrastructure for 5G.”
Bulgaria’s three operators - A1, Telenor and Vivacom – have stated that they will likely cooperate in order to split the hefty investment costs for 5G, which could total as much as BGN800 million (USD453 million) across the next three to four years. Vivacom CEO Atanas Dobrev noted that 5G equipment at present costs around four times as much as 4G and 3G network kit.
All of the operators have begun 5G trials in the country.