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ANCOM: Granting 5G licenses in Romania impossible until end year

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Granting 5G licenses in Romania is impossible until the end of the year, even in the most optimistic case, said Eduard Lovin, the National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) vice-president, on Tuesday, at the conference “Communication Day”.

Our actions to offer the additional 350 MHz of spectrum (for 5G) were delayed on the background of the lack of a Government  Decision establishing lowest starting prices for the tender and payment calendar at the State Treasury, as well as the lack of a document meant to clarify the Government Memorandum on 5G network security, so that operators had predictability to be able to make long term investment plans. ANCOM is ready for the tender allocating use rights of the radio spectrum allowing 5G national implementation and use at full capacity. However we can start procedures needed to organize the tender after the publication of these documents in the Official Monitor. Then, after publication, we will rapidly analyze if adjustments are needed on the Task Documents consulted since last year. If necessary the documents will undergo another public consulting process for 10 to 30 days,”Lovin explained. 

He added that all amounts coming from the radio spectrum tender are part of the state budget. “In case we either consult the Tender documents or remain with the form consulted last year we will need to adopt tender documents within a Consulting Council with the industry and institutions interested. Then we will talk about the publication of the participation announcement and the Tender Documents. Later on, the selection and tender proper could last 3 to 4 months. If we take into account the most optimistic scenario, granting 5G licenses until the end of the ongoing year is impossible. The money coming from the radio spectrum tender is part of the state budget and ANCOM gets nothing,” the official said. 

Lovin pointed out that, although at present 5G services have been launched in Romania by certain operators, they are demonstrative services which do not allow all standard parameters to be reached.

5G services have already been launched for a year by mobile phone operators in Romania. We were the third country in Europe where that happened. Coverage is now in the center of big cities and one of the operators said it could cover Bucharest. Services are good and allow hundreds of megabites per second, but we must understand this is the first commercial version of 5G. These are rather demonstrative services, not mass services. Operators launched these 5G services using the spectrum they have now, the licenses they have being for neutral use from the technological point of view, allowing service supply in any technology according to commercial strategies of each company. To really use 5G for talking operators need an additional spectrum,”said Eduard Lovin.

According to him, Romania needs an additional spectrum. “Launching commercial 5G in Romania last year was possible in the context of reorganizing the 3.4-3.8 band made by ANCOM in the first part of 2019. This is a pioneer band for 5G in Europe and operators that had license for 250 MHz took advantage of it and launched commercial 5G services. In this band, 90 MHz will become accessible after obtaining the license. The license includes all 400 MHz possible in the range,” said ANCOM representative.

ANCOM announced on March 2 that until the end of quarter 3, 2020, it will complete the tender documents for 5G frequencies. The organization of the selection procedure for granting rights for radio spectrum available in frequency bands of 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2600 MHz, 3400-3600 MHz (5G) for the supply of broad band public services would take place in quarter 4,2020. 

The US and Romanian governments, through ambassadors Hans Klemm and George Maior, signed on August 20, 2019, in Washington, a Memorandum on the development of 5G technology, a document which was classified after being signed.

The document was declassified in November 2019 and according to it, 5G suppliers must be rigorously evaluated and the protection of future generation communication networks against disturbances or manipulations and ensuring the citizens' private life and liberties are vital. 

On January 20, 2020, the European Commission approved the joint set of instruments including attenuation measures established with member states to respond to security risks connected to the introduction of 5G technology, the 5th generation of mobile networks.

The European forum also launched relevant actions in its area of competence and made appeal that the key measure should be put in application until April 30,2020. Moreover the Commission invited member states to elaborate until June 30, 2020 a joint report on putting into application of those measures by each country.

Official estimates show that 5G technology will generate incomes of 225 billion euros in 2025 at world level.

 

The 24th edition of the “Communication Day”conference was held on Tuesday with an audience connected on various online channels and social media.

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