Dutch 5G frequency auction begins today

The Netherlands' 5G frequencies are up for auction from today. From 10:00 a.m. on Monday, telecom providers can start bidding for the first frequency (700MHz) intended for 5G. How long this bidding will take, is unclear. Telecom providers can only activate their 5G network once they have a frequency in their hands, NOS reports.

The frequency bands are in great demand, auctioneer Martijn Meijers of the Telecom Agency said to the broadcaster. "This is because mobile internet is used more and more. As a result, demand exceeds supply and bands are given to the parties who value it most." Or the highest bidder, in other words. 

When the 4G frequencies were auctioned off in 2012, they sold for a record amount of 3.8 billion euros. This  auction is expected to yield much less, but at least 900 million euros. KPN, T-Mobile and VodafoneZiggo are definitely participating in the auction. Whether there are any other participating parties, such as providers from other countries, is being kept secret, Meijers said. The providers are also not allowed to communicate with the outside world regarding the bidding. 

The auction consists of two phases. In the first phase, the 26 available frequencies will be put up for auction in rounds. A starting amount is set, and providers can bid or withdraw. How long this phase will take is impossible to say - the auction will continue as long as there are bids. The second phases is mainly a technical one, when it will be figured out which pieces of frequency each provider receives. After that, the radio silence will be broken and the Ministry of Economic Affairs will announce which party received which bands and for what price. 

Only once this is done can providers start activating their 5G networks. VodafoneZiggo "cheated" a bit on this front and is already offering 5G on one of its 4G frequencies.