The CEO of VodafoneZiggo argued the 3.5GHz band must be made available for 5G, noting it would accelerate availablity of the next-generation technology in the Netherlands.
Currently 3.5GHz spectrum is not included in plans for a 2019 spectrum auction, but Jeroen Hoencamp, head of the joint venture between Vodafone and Liberty Global, said the goal of the sale should be to encourage widespread rollout of 5G in the country.
“We need to avoid market players feeling forced to invest only in heavily populated and urban areas,” he said in a statement.
The 3.5GHz band is presently being used for defence and intelligence purposes at a satellite monitoring station in the north of the Netherlands, and closed broadband networks in the south. The licences in the south run for another five to nine years.
Hoencamp also called for spectrum licences to cover a longer duration so operators have certainty over the payback on 5G investments.
Media reports indicated the Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate plans to consult with the country’s defence ministry in 2018 on the issue of the satellite station and work on a new policy for other users of the 3.5GHz band.
It aims to clear up the issue before the 2019 spectrum auction and give operators some clarity.