Bulgaria to hold new 5G auction after legal challenge

Bulgaria to hold new 5G auction after legal challenge

Bulgaria’s telecoms regulator said it would hold a new 5G auction on April 6 for three 5G licenses after its decision to allocate them without competition was contested in court by the country’s leading telecoms operator Vivacom.

The Communication Regulation Commission (CRC) said its decision to launch a new process was backed by the three main telecoms operators.

“The regulator decided to amend its decision to speed up the process and avoid lengthy court proceedings,” CRC head Ivan Dimitrov said, saying the auction date was April 6.

First stage of introduction

According to DataReporter, there were 4.67 million internet users in Bulgaria in January 2020, with the number of internet users in Bulgaria decreasing by 35 thousand (-0.7 percent) between 2019 and 2020. “Internet penetration in Bulgaria stood at 67 percent in January 2020,” it noted.

As the first stage of the introduction of the new technology, Bulgarian operator Vivacom launched commercial offering of the network services and network in late September 2020.

The operator uses dynamic spectrum sharing on the existing 4G network, reaching 5G coverage in the central urban areas of all 27 biggest cities in the country. Vivacom is giving free of charge 30 GB per month to its customers with a compatible 5G terminal to test the new technology until the end of 2020.

5G auction details

Vivacom, A1 and Telenor Bulgaria, which is owned by Czech investment group PPF, will bid for specific bands in the 3.6 GHz spectrum.

The initial price of each permit for 20 years is set at $2.43 million. Each company can get only one permit and the highest bidder will be given first choice from one of the three 100 MHz bands in the 3.6 GHz spectrum.

Burgas is among the top performing cities in Bulgaria when it comes to the length of the municipal optical network. An indicator which enables the seaside city to become the first 5G city in the country with full network coverage.