Poland’s regulator suspended a deadline for the submission of bids for the country’s first 5G spectrum auction due to the government enforcing rules to stem the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

In a statement, Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications said it reacted to measures introduced on 31 March by the government.

However, Reuters reported Orange Polska representative Wojciech Jabczynski said the operator was “surprised” by the announcement. Jabczynski said all previous signs from the regulator pointed to the auction carrying on as scheduled.

Prior to the government’s clampdown, the regulator said in a statement the original deadline of 23 April to submit initial bids remained, despite cases of Covid-19 being reported in the country in early March.

A new time frame was not set by the regulator.

Telecoms companies would have bid on four frequencies (3480MHz to 3800MHz) in the 3.6GHz band, with the price starting at PLN450 million ($108.3 million).

Development of 5G networks was hampered by the virus in several other countries including Spain, Germany, the US and China.