Masmovil reportedly ruled itself out of a Spanish 700MHz 5G auction, blaming a failure by the nation to satisfy its demands despite a recent attempt by the regulator to promote operator investment.

The auction is due to begin before 21 July after being delayed by the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Rivals Telefonica, Orange and Vodafone Spain are set to participate.

Masmovil informed Europa Press the conditions it based its participation on had “not been satisfactorily considered”. It had called for a portion of spectrum to be set aside exclusively for smaller players and parts of the auction reserved as regional blocks.

It also took issue with the starting price of the auction, Europa Press reported.

Spain cut an average of 15 per cent from the auction’s starting prices last month and eased some conditions to push up operator spend.

Its combined starting price for all seven allocations on offer will be set at €995.5 million with each licence coming with a 20-year optional extension in addition to the initial 20-year term. Coverage obligations were also amended.

Masmovil told Europa Press it remained committed to being a 5G leader, with it already owning 80MHz of compatible spectrum in the 3.5GHz band and a number of access agreements with other operators.

Spain last held an auction for 5G-suitable frequencies in 2018.