Switzerland’s Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) awarded 5G radio frequencies to all three mobile operators – Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt – raising CHF380 million ($379 million).
The frequencies will be assigned for 15 years, which the regulator said provides the “operators long-term planning security to develop their networks.”
ComCom said it set caps to ensure all operators were able to acquire a wide range of 5G frequencies at reasonable prices and the process is “of key importance for the digitalisation of Switzerland”.
It also said its aim was not to maximise auction revenue, but rather to allocate frequencies efficiently to ensure high quality mobile communications services.
The money raised in the auction is a far cry from other European countries: Italy raised around $7 billion, for which it has faced criticism; while Germany could reportedly raise around $5.6 billion.
Dense Air, a small cell player which launched in 2018, pulled out of the Swiss auction. Reuters noted this “removes a potential rival for the three companies in the already crowded Swiss mobile market”.
Swisscom, which paid CHF196 million, said by the end of 2019 it expects to roll-out 5G to 60 towns and communities.
Sunrise and Salt did not have such concrete plans. The former said the frequencies gained will help it to “deliver a world-class 5G network in the future” and the latter that it will “improve its high-quality mobile network” with “next-generation speed, latency and capacity”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter