Regulator says consumers will benefit from competition
Estonia’s regulator, Tarbijakaitse ja Tehnilise Jarelevalve Amet (TTJA) has received four applications for its forthcoming spectrum auction of three 3.5GHz licences for 5G services.
As expected, the three incumbent mobile network operators (MNOs), Telia, Elisa and Tele2, have bid. The fourth applicant is something of a wild card, Lithuania-based telecoms and media firm Bite Group.
Bite Group’s activities in Estonia so far have concentrated on its TV channel TV3 and streaming platform Go3, so a successful bid for a 5G licence would bring additional competition to the country’s telecoms sector.
Andres Suti, Estonia’s Minister of eEnterprise and Information Technology, welcomed the competition. Whereas in many markets mobile operators, such as Vodafone in the UK and Orange in France, are calling for consolidation, Suti said having four firms chasing three licences will be good for consumers. “I am glad that four companies are interested in the competition, and one of them is a newcomer,” said Suti. “This shows that companies have a definite interest in the development of the Estonian communications market and also gives confidence that 5G services will reach the market as soon as possible. Estonian consumers can only win from the competition, because this way the service will be of higher quality and the prices more reasonable.”
The public tender for three concessions in the 3410 Mhz to 3800 Mhz range was initially announced on 19 February 2019 and then postponed later that year. Under the new auction terms, the starting price for each licence will be €1.597 million ($1.75 million).
TTJA, the nation’s consumer protection authority in addition to being its technical regulator, said it expects to begin the bidding process towards the end of April and to be completed by June 2022.