Finland’s telecommunications market has been open for competition since the late 1980s. Thus, the country became an international leader in telecommunications. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries have been postponing 5G rollout. However, last week was crucial for Finland as three mobile operators secured new 5G licenses.
In 2018, Finland was trying to compete with the US and China in becoming the international leader of 5G. In October 2018, the Finnish government granted licenses to three operators- including Telia- for 5G rollout. Telia has already tested 5G with Nokia in limited environments across the country. Since June 2020, the 5G network has been made available in 30 cities and municipalities in Finland, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications press release. However, according to the “Global Race to 5G” report published by CTIA in 2018, China and the United States were the first and the third most 5G-Ready countries respectively.
Telia has already called for partnerships with organizations that have a strong desire to advance the Finnish 5G deployment. On October 2019, the Swedish mobile operator has launched 5G subscriptions and devices. On January 2020, Telia has teamed with Nokia and Huawei to provide 5G services in Helsinki, Oulu, and Vantaa. According to RCR Wireless News, Elisa expanded its 5G network to 19 locations in the country in April 2020. DNA launched its Home 5G service in December 2019. In January 2020, the company began selling 5G subscriptions to private and corporate customers, according to RCR.
As part of the 5G rollout plan, the Finnish Government issued decrees on the auctioning of the so-called 26 GHz spectrum and on amending the Decree on Radio Spectrum Usage and Frequency Allocation Plan. The Finnish government decided on the terms of the auction on April 8, 2020, and a participation fee of €40,000 was set to be charged for each registered organization. Before the conclusion of the auction process, the names of registered organizations were not available to the public.
On April 21, 2020, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has opened the registration for the second auction of 5G frequencies. “An enterprise, organization, or association that wishes to take part in the auction must register at the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom by no later than 20 May 2020,” stated the ministry.
The second 5G spectrum auction in Finland started on June 8, 2020. Finnish telecom operators Telia, Elisa, and Telenor-owned DNA all won frequencies at the country’s auction of new high-speed 5G mobile networks. “Elisa won the 25.1-25.9 GHz frequencies, Telia 25.9-26.7 GHz and DNA 26.7-27.5 GHz, and there were no other bidders, “said the Ministry of Transport and Communications. While the construction of the new network can begin on July 1, 2020. This second issue of 5G licenses will be valid until the end of 2033. The 5G spectrum auction generated € 21 million in revenue to the state. All operators will invest €7 million according to the Ministry press release stating that the auction was concluded.
In a press release published on April 9, 2020, Ericsson said that it has been selected by Erillisverkot Group- the state-run body responsible for national communications networks for public authorities, emergency services and other critical services in Finland- to provide 5G next-generation core network products and solutions for its mission-critical broadband network. This network is planned to be operational mid-2021.