On 18 January 2005 the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that it would be allocating licences for the wireless local loop (“WLL”) frequencies in the 26 GHz frequency band. The permit allocation process for these frequencies commenced as of 24 January 2005. Licences for six national lots are available.
Last year, the WLL frequencies in the 2.6 and 3.5 GHz band were sold by auction, now it is the turn of the frequencies in the 26 GHz band. Versatel and Enertel were the winners of last years’ auctions. Versatel paid 760,002 euros for the use of the frequencies in the 2.6 GHz band. Enertel spent over four million euros on its permit in the 3.5 GHz band. These licences will remain applicable until 2008 and 2015 respectively.
If there appears to be no interest for a 26 GHz-lot, i.e. if there is only one applicant, the licence for that lot will be granted without an auction. If there is interest, the lots in question will be auctioned. Applications for a licence can be made until 2.00pm, 25 February 2005. Information about the application procedure, the frequencies lots and model licences can be found on Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency’s website: www.agentschaptelecom.nl (in Dutch). The Dutch Radiocommunications Agency has composed an application document. The parties wishing to acquire a licence for WLL 26 GHz are recommended to buy this document. Applications for the document can be sent by e-mail to: email@example.com.
Wireless local loop
WLL is a relatively new technology. It is a digital radio system that enables wireless broadband connections. From a central antenna mast, multiple end users can be served at a distance of some kilometres. The technology is particularly apt for connecting business telephone switches in industrial areas to the fixed telephone network without cables having to be installed. By means of this technology it is also possible to connect a new base station for mobile telephone (GSM) networks.
The frequency space to be allotted in the 26 GHz band is divided as follows:
|A||24.549-24.661 GHz and 25.557-25.669 GHz||2x112 MHz|
|B||24.689-24.745 GHz and 25.697-25.753 GHz ||2x56 MHz|
|C||24.773-24.829 GHz and 25.781-25.837 GHz||2x56 MHz|
|D||24.857-24.913 GHz and 25.865-25.921 GHz||2x56 MHz|
|E||24.941-25.025 GHz and 25.949-26.033 GHz||2x84 MHz|
|CD*||24.773-24.913 GHz and 25.781-25.921 GHz**)||2x140 MHz|
*) combination lot
**) i.e. the combination of the lots C, D and the intervening guard band
There is a so-called guard band of 28 MHz between each lot.
The user’s right to the frequency space available for WLL in the 26 GHz is sold by means of a combination auction with closed bid. Such auction with closed bid consists in one bid round, in which all participants may make a bid for all the lots referred to in their application. The combination element concerns the possibility to make a bid for a combination of lots. In this case this is the combination of the lots C and D. The frequency space to be sold by auction is divided into lots.
Prior to the auction, the applicants that are allowed as participants will also be informed how many applicants that are allowed as participants have applied for which lot(s), as well as how many participants there are in total. The identity of the applicants is not made public. The purpose of disclosing this information is to support the participants in their bid behaviour. The applicant receives the information that is relevant for him, which means that an applicant for a licence for the frequency space in a certain lot receives information about the total number of applicants for the frequency space in that lot.
The following conditions apply to the frequency licences to be sold by auction:
- the licences will have a term of twelve years
- when using frequency space for point-multipoint connections, the licence holder will have to bring into and keep in use at least twenty fixed switch points within eighteen months after the effective date. When he uses the frequency space for multipoint connections, the licence holder will have to bring into and keep in use at least 300 fixed installed connection points within eighteen months after the entry into force of the licence
- when using the frequency space in a zone of fifteen kilometres inland calculated from the national border, the licence holder will take into account a restriction of the frequency use in the form of pre-set frequency distribution with the neighbouring countries
- in case Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) technology is applied, the transmission from a fixed central point will take place within the frequency reach stated in the licence at the bottom end of the frequency space granted. The transmission from a fixed installed connection point will take place within the frequency space stated in the licence at the top of the frequency space granted
- the licence holder of the frequency reach of lot E will take into account the existing number of radio links on the adjacent frequency band
- on the Continental Shelf, the frequency space (other than on non-disturbance basis) can only be brought into use after an international frequency co-ordination thereto being passed through successfully
- the licence holder will have to keep available recent operational technical data. This concerns data with reference to any central point and any connection point (and, if applicable, also for other transmitting network elements) about geographical co-ordinates, frequencies being in use and polarisations, transmitting power, and characteristics and height of the antennas
In view of the start of the issue procedure of the licences, the Ministry has asked the Dutch Competition Authority (“Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit” or “NMa”) whether in its opinion there could be an appreciable restriction of the actual competition on the relevant market by the granting of the licences.
The NMa recommends not excluding any parties from participation in the WLL auction. In addition, the NMa recommends that in general the restriction should be imposed that an undertaking may only acquire less than half of the total frequency space for WLL to be distributed in megahertz in the 26 GHz band and 3.5 GHz band. The Minister has adopted the advice of the NMa.