Telenor acquires new spectrum licence at NMHH auction

Telenor Hungary has been granted a spectrum licence for another 15+5 years by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) at the auction announced for 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands. The operator acquired a 26MHz and a 40MHz block in the 900 MHz and in the 1,800MHz band, respectively for a total amount of HUF 56.854bn. Both bands will play a key role in mobile network development during the next decade. Given their technology agnostic nature, they will make the benefits of the most advanced technologies available combined with a high coverage.

The 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands have played an important role in Hungarian mobile services since the emergence of GSM technology. After the first spectrum auction of 1993, they were used to support 2G mobile services. In 2011, a resolution by the European Commission and a subsequent Hungarian government decree allowed the use of spectrum in a technology agnostic way which opened the above bands for 3G and 4G mobile technologies significantly enhancing both geographical coverage and network capacities. In 2013, the licence to use these bands was extended until 7 and 8 April 2022. Adjusted to the above dates, NMHH held its next spectrum auction in 2020 whose results were announced now.

The new spectrum licence acquired by Telenor will have a term of 15 years starting from April 2022 and it can be extended once with up to 5 years. The continued dynamic development of mobile technology requires a further investment of several tens of billions of HUF.  This means that a licence agreement of 15+5 years gives sufficient predictability for the operator to implement network development in line with growing consumer and business needs. The technology agnosticism of the spectrum leaves it to the operator to decide which technologies it would use in the different bands in the future.

“We want to thank the authority for the smooth management of the auction. We are pleased and satisfied with the result. Combined with the spectrum acquired in spring 2020, the new blocks will enable us to continue providing a competitive world-class network in the coming decade. We want to use our licences to provide a technology fulfilling consumer and business needs at a high quality and in the long run”, said Peter Gažik, CEO of Telenor Hungary.

Why are these frequency bands important for mobile telecom services?

Its physical characteristics make the lower 900MHz band efficient for providing broad geographical coverage, while the higher 1,800MHz band plays an important role in increasing capacity and mobile internet speeds. By 2020, Hipernet 4G’s nationwide consumer coverage reached 99.5%. In the near future, growing needs will be served by 5G and 4G technologies combined, primarily in high-traffic areas and for special industry applications. But, in the same way as observed with past upgrades, new-generation technology is expected to take over the role of existing solutions gradually. Telenor experiences an increasingly brisk demand for 5G both from consumers and business customers. At the same time, the price of 5G-enabled smartphones is also getting more affordable. These trends will clearly promote the broad-based adoption of the new technology. Using its newly acquired spectrum Telenor aims to further enhance its Hipernet network and ensure the high quality its customers have come to expect.

Telenor Hungary’s licenced spectrum available for providing mobile phone and mobile internet services in the long run:

•    2x5MHz acquired in 2020 for a term of 15+5 years
•        2x10MHz acquired in 2014 for a term of 15+5 years
900MHz (2x11.8MHz blocks):
•    2x13MHz acquired in 2021 for a term expiring in 2037
•    2x2.0MHz acquired in 2014 for a term of 15+5 years
1,800MHz (2x20MHz blocks):
•        2x20MHz acquired in 2021 for a term expiring in 2037
2,100MHz (2x15MH)
•    2x15MHz FDD acquired in 2004, extended in 2018 for a term expiring in 2027
2600 MHz
•    2x20 MHz acquired in 2014 for a term of 15+5 years
3600 MHz
•    1x 140 MHz acquired in 2020 for a term of 15+5 years