Estonia 5G auctions in legal limbo

Estonia 5G auctions in legal limbo

Estonia’s scheduled spectrum auction has stalled following a legal challenge from a smaller local player.

Tallinn’s Circuit Court last month ruled in favour of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM)’s plan to issue three 5G licences in the 3400MHz-3800MHz band. Fixed and IoT provider Levikom has now appealed against this decision and aims to take its case to the Supreme Court.

The local firm first challenged the Ministry’s proposals in March 2019, arguing that offering just three licences would stymie competition as it was inherently advantageous to the country’s three incumbent mobile operators. Levikom argues that both national and regional licences should be put to auction, enabling smaller players to begin offering 5G.

However, the challenge has been complicated by reports that Levikom has outstanding tax bills, which would have precluded the provider from participating in the 5G auctions in the first place.

Laura Laaster of the MKM said: “The court dispute has no doubt slowed down the process of issuing frequency permits and consequently the development of 5G networks. At the same time, we cannot say Estonia has fallen far behind other countries.”

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