KPN claims Netherlands spectrum policy risks 5G ‘false start’

News

KPN has blasted the Dutch government’s proposed spectrum policy and demanded changes, saying that the country is headed for a “false start” on 5G.

A recent memorandum issued by the Dutch Minister of Economic affairs said that the 700MHz, 1400MHz and 2100MHz bands will be auctioned in the near future, while the 3.5GHz band is currently blocked but will see its distribution policy reviewed by 2020.

The Netherlands-based operator said that insufficient spectrum will be made available under the plans to enable the country to be a 5G leader.

KPN highlighted that there was currently uncertainty over availability of the 3.5GHz spectrum band due to the satellite station in Burum, which limits the availability of the band, despite it having been designated for 5G use by the EU.

It added that there were no plans yet to make the band available for mobile communications.

KPN also objected to a proposal to withdraw two chunks of 10MHz of spectrum that are currently available for mobile communications from availability.

The operator said that the country’s spectrum policy will only be successful if it is in line with international harmonisation agreements and EU policy.

It argued that the 3.5GHz band should be made available as soon as possible, with legislation overall aimed at maximising economies of scale from global standardisation and harmonisation.

“Unless the spectrum policy is improved, 5G development in the Netherlands will significantly lag other EU countries,” the KPN statement noted.

“This will result in significant delays and higher costs to fulfil ambitions such as autonomous driving, digital innovations in the Dutch industry, and building Smart Cities of the future.”

KPN is working with other operators and vendors to further 5G research. In August, it joined a project including Vodafone, Ericsson, Huawei and the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs that aims to develop 5G in the country.