As markets around the world gear up for 5G, new frequency bands are being put up for auction. Among them are frequency bands that have been little used up to now, due to major reception issues with devices.
Combined with the advent of new antenna technologies, 5G makes it possible to use these frequencies, and enables new services.

This report answers the following questions:

  • What are the classic criteria for assessing a frequency band’s value?
  • What will 5G change in how frequencies are valued?
  • What do preliminary results inside and outside Europe tell us?

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary
1.1. Main findings
1.2. First 5G auctions

2. Methodology & definitions
2.1. General methodology of IDATE DigiWorld’s reports
2.2. Methodology specific to this report
2.2.1. Scope of the benchmark
2.2.2. Reference formulas

3. Auction results that depend on multiples factors
3.1. Frequencies’ intrinsic value
3.1.1. Value relative to the associated rollout
3.1.2. Activating a new technology
3.2. The market
3.2.1. Auction results proportionate to mobile revenue
3.2.2. The challenge of standing out from the competition through quality of service

4. 5G introduces new criteria
4.1. New frequencies being proposed for 5G
4.1.1. Three main groups of frequencies for different uses
4.1.2. The latest technologies are boosting the value of high-band frequencies
4.1.3. The ability to monetise frequencies depends on business models
4.2. Post-mortem of the first auctions
4.2.1. New criteria coming into play
4.2.2. Analysis of the first results

5. Annexes
5.1. Auctions over time
5.1.1. In Europe
5.1.2. Outside Europe
5.2. The regulator’s challenges

List of tables and figures

List of tables and figures

Figure 1: Frequency assessment criteria
Figure 2: Difference in spectrum efficiency: 4G versus 3G on a live data network
Figure 3: Results of the latest auctions by frequency band/European country
Figure 4: Aggregated results of the latest frequency auctions in Europe, by frequency band
Figure 5: Results of the latest frequency auctions outside of Europe, by frequency band
Figure 6: Evolution of auctions attached to 4G technology in Europe
Figure 7: Cost to revenue ratio for the latest mobile licences
Figure 8: Cost to revenue ratio for licences, according to the number of national operators, in Europe
Figure 9: Frequency ranges for different use cases
Figure 10: Coverage/capacity/latency trade-offs, by frequency band
Figure 11: Benefits of massive MIMO and Beamforming
Figure 12: High-band frequencies’ improved coverage
Figure 13: Type of frequency by type of service
Figure 14: New 5G criteria and market ambiguities
Figure 15: Summary of past and upcoming 5G auctions
Figure 16: Aggregated results of the latest auctions in Europe, by frequency band
Figure 17: History of European auctions
Figure 18: History of auctions outside Europe

Geographic area

  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
North America
  • Canada
  • United States

Other details

  • Reference: M18440MRA
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: French, English
  • Tags: 5G, 5G auctions, 5G licences, frequency allocations, frequency bands

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