Denmark kicks off spectrum auction for 4G, 5G expansion

The Danish Energy Authority has started the auction of spectrum in five frequency bands, namely the 1.5 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands.

The agency also confirmed that the bidders are TDC Net, 3 Denmark, and the Telia-Telenor joint venture, TT-Network. The permits are technology-neutral but the available frequencies are expected to be used for 5G.

On March 11, the agency said it will hold the first and second phase of the spectrum auction, where the participant carriers will be able to bid for the available bands.

In the auction process, a coverage requirement is set in the 2.1 GHz frequency band, which is to ensure better coverage in some areas where poor mobile coverage is currently experienced. The coverage requirement must improve the experience in general for the citizens who live, work and move in the areas, including also for tourists, the agency said.

“In addition, a coverage requirement is also set in the 3.5 GHz frequency band. The 3.5 GHz frequency band has been identified by the EU as one of the pioneering bands for the rollout of 5G in Europe. With the coverage requirement, the winners will be obliged to roll out services faster and wider in Denmark. The Danish Energy Agency has previously issued temporary licenses in the 3.5 GHz frequency band for experiments with 5G,” the agency said.

The auction consists of five bidding phases. It is not known in advance how long the auction will last, as this depends on the demand of the participants. The Danish Energy Agency will publish results as soon as they are known.

“The licenses are technology neutral and can therefore be used for the technologies that the future license holders want. The frequency bands in question are expected to be used for 4G and 5G, among other things,” the agency said.

Danish operators started to deploy 5G technology in some parts of the country last year.

Local operator TDC said it had completed nationwide 5G deployment on December 1 after upgrading 3,800 mobile masts. The company said that over 50,000 users already had access to the 5G network as of December.

TDC initially launched 5G in September, using frequencies in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band. Initial deployments included the major Danish cities of Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus and Helsingør.

Tival operators Telia and Telenor, who operate shared mobile infrastructure in Denmark, launched 5G in September. Telia and Telenor had announced that the first cities to get 5G were Copenhagen and Aalborg. Following this initial activation, the two companies said they will upgrade additional existing sites.

3 Denmark launched its 5G network in December in selected locations in the capital, Copenhagen. By the summer of 2022, 5G will be rolled out across the operator’s entire network. The carrier will initially use frequencies in the 700 MHz and 1.800 GHz bands to launch 5G services.

Denmark completed the auction of spectrum in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz and 2.3 GHz bands in April 2019.

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