Pages

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A timeline of Slovenian 4G spectrum assignment process

Slovenian lawmakers adopted a decision to assign frequencies in the 800 MHz band, a so called digital dividend, for mobile broadband in 2007. They were ambitious and wanted to launch mobile broadband services in the 800 MHz band already in 2011. Six years later and more than seven years after the adoption of the underlying strategy, we are still far from assigning frequencies. We have not got even a complete mobile auction information memorandum. The Slovenian National Regulatory Authority (NRA) requires changes in auctioning provisions of the recently adopted Electronic Communications Act, which may lead to further delays.

What has gone wrong? There are several possibilities, but an insight into regulatory processes in Slovenia and abroad along with an understanding of major interest groups offer potential explanations.

Let us have a look at the timeline of Slovenian 4G spectrum allocation and assignment process. Major events are outlined in the table below.

Table 1: A timeline of Slovenian 4G spectrum allocation and assignment process, 2006 - 2014.
16 February 2006
The strategy envisaged a deadline of the beginning of 2012 for completing analogue switch-off, i.e. for a transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, in accordance with the Communication COM(2005) 204 on Digital Switchover.
24 November 2007
Digital Broadcasting Act came into force.
The Act envisaged a digital switchover to have been completed by 31 December 2010 and set an additional six month deadline (until 30 June 2011) for carrying out a public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band (790–862 MHz), released through the digital switchover.
October 2009
The NRA commissioned a study on the “Strategy for the use of frequency spectrum for the IMT technology”.
The study ignored the deadline set by the Digital Broadcasting Act and proposed to include the 800 MHz band in a multi-band tender, along with the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands, and carry it out in 2015.
27 November 2009
Assignment of Dušan Schuster as a new acting head of the NRA (the Government’s decision of 26 November 2009).
14 May 2010
Assignment of Miha Krišelj as a new acting head of the NRA (the Government’s decision of 13 May 2010).
30 October 2010
The amendments envisaged the extension of the deadline for completing analogue switch-off to 30 June 2011.
28 February 2011
The NRA published a public consultation on the preparation of the “Strategy for the use of frequency spectrum for the IMT technology” with a deadline for comments on 30 March 2011.
30 March 2011
Mobile operators submitted comments on the consultation on the preparation of the “Strategy for the use of frequency spectrum for the IMT technology”.
All four mobile network operators (Mobitel, Simobil, Tušmobil and T-2) expressed interest in the 800 MHz. They proposed to assign frequencies in the 800 MHz band as soon as possible and expressed explicit disagreement with the inclusion of the 800 MHz band in the multi-band tender.
14 May 2011
Assignment of Mark Pohar as a new acting head of the NRA (the Government’s decision of 12 May 2011).
30 June 2011
The first deadline by which the NRA should have assigned radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band (790–862 MHz) – for mobile broadband communications (LTE).
24 October 2011
Assignment of Franc Dolenc as a new head of the NRA (the Government’s decision of 6 October 2011)
14 March 2012
The European Parliament and Council approved the first Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (Decision No. 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012) establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme). According to the programme, by 1 January 2013, all Member States (unless an individual exemption has been obtained before that date), should have authorised the use of the 800 MHz band for wireless broadband communications. One of the main objectives was to cover sparsely populated areas.
30 March 2012
The Electronic Communications Council of the Republic of Slovenia warned that Slovenia had been behind schedule in the assignment of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band. The Council called upon the NRA and the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure the achievement of the Digital Agenda broadband goals and provide basic broadband connectivity to all citizens by 2013. As a key measure the Council exposed the publication of the public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band.
29 September 2012
The NRA decided (see the NRA’s annual report 2012) to carry out a multi-band public tender/auction for the following frequency bands: 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2600 MHz, and unpaired 2100 MHz. The assignment was planned for 2014. The decision was communicated to the ministry in charge of electronic communications. As seen from official documents, the NRA’s decision had been an arbitrary conduct, without the endorsement of the government.
8 October 2012
The Ministry in charge of electronic communications sent a policy letter with strategic guidelines to the NRA, explaining its position regarding the assignment of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band. The Ministry called upon the NRA to speed up the process of the assignment of available frequencies in all bands.
25 October 2012
The NRA put estimated auction proceeds of EUR 100 - 200 million in a draft Work Programme and Financial Plan for 2013. The NRA’s estimates were not based on a profound analysis, but were rather speculative.
26 October 2012
The NRA sent a letter to the Ministry in charge of electronic communications with a request for granting derogation to Slovenia until 31 December 2015 at the latest, regarding the assignment of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band, in accordance with the Decision No. 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme.
26 October 2012
The Ministry in charge of electronic communications sent a request for granting derogation to Slovenia, received from the NRA earlier that day, to the European Commission.
20 February 2013
The NRA published initial views on a public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies for mobile communications in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands (for the period until 3 January 2016).
15 March 2013
The NRA published a decision to initiate a public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies for mobile communications in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands (for the period until 3 January 2016).
22 March 2013
The NRA published initial views on the multi-band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services with a 30 day deadline for comments.
9 April 2013
The NRA published a response to questions on tender documents (assignment of radio frequencies in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands).
17 April 2013
The NRA extended the deadline for the submission of comments on initial views on the multi-band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services to 8 May 2013 on the initiative of Telekom Slovenije.
8 May 2013
Mobile operators submitted comments on initial views on the multi-band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services.
15 May 2013
The NRA published comments of operators and other stakeholders on initial views on the multi band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services.
22 May 2013
A deadline for the publication of the NRA’s report on comments on initial views on the multi band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services – which the NRA failed to meet.
24 April 2013
The NRA published a report of a commission that managed a public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies for mobile communications in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.
29 May 2013
The NRA published, but not very transparently and consistently, a report on the consultation on views on the multi band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services.
29 May 2013
The NRA published an update of initial views on the multi band tender for the assignment of spectrum for the mobile services.
31 May 2013
The NRA issued decisions on the allocation of radio frequencies in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands to Telekom Slovenije, Si.mobil and Tušmobil.
23 July 2013
The European Commission refused derogation for Slovenia, as the delay was due to the organisation of the authorisation process and not to exceptional circumstances preventing the availability of the band.
31 August 2013
The Ministry in charge of electronic communications again sent a policy letter to the NRA with a request to speed up the process of the assignment of available frequencies in the 800 MHz band.
1 September 2013
A deadline for the publication of the Information memorandum on the public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies in the frequency bands 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz with an auction.
20 September 2013
The NRA published a Draft Information Memorandum on the public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies in the frequency bands 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz with an auction. Despite delayed publication, crucial information was still missing in the information memorandum, i.e. a type of auction and auction rules, reserved prices, coverage obligations (a list of priority areas).
7 October 2013
The NRA published a revision of the Draft Information Memorandum on the public tender for the assignment of radio frequencies in the frequency bands 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz with an auction. The revision included auction rules and corrections. The NRA defined the auction format (sealed bid, clock auction). The list of priority areas and reserved prices were still missing.
13 December 2013
A deadline for publication of auction rules and tender documentation in the official journal and at the NRA’s web page.
February 2014
The first deadline for beginning of the auction.
25 March 2014
A new deadline for beginning of the auction, published in the revised Information Memorandum of 7 October 2013.
June 2014
A deadline for issuing decisions on the allocation of radio frequencies.
Sources: The Slovenian National Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications (AKOS), national legislation web portal, European Commission web portal, Ministry in charge of electronic communications.
Disclaimer: All collected background documents have been carefully considered and translated to English. Please refer to original documents as translated parts are not official documents.

No comments:

Post a comment