Switzerland to offer platter of spectrum in 5G auction


Switzerland has fired the starting gun on selling frequencies for 5G deployments, as Sweden announced it would use 700MHz to connect remote areas.

The Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has opened an invitation to Swiss companies to compete for the award of new spectrum.

An auction is due to take place in January next year with the licences lasting 15 years.

The regulator said spectrum in the 700MHz, 1400MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz ranges would be sold.

Spectrum caps will be put in place so the country's three operators, Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom, can each own frequency in the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands.

A spokeperson said: "These will enable the early introduction of the much more powerful 5G mobile radio technology and support the digitalisation of Switzerland.

"The frequencies used to date for other purposes are expected to be used initially to improve quality on the existing LTE networks until the transmission equipment and terminals for 5G become available."

Swisscom is planning to launch a 5G ready network by the end of 2018, while rival Sunrise said last month it was planning to use 5G to connect customers in remote parts of the country.

However, each of the country's operators have criticised the regulatory landscape in Switzerland, arguing its radiation protection laws are too strict and outdated.

Earlier this week, the Swedish regulator PTS said it was planning to sell 60MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band in December to connect remote parts of the country.

A coverage requirement will ensure operators offer at least 10MBps download data rates.

A spectrum cap will also be in place to ensure at least two operators own frequency in the band.