Displaying items by tag: Auction

US completes its first 5G auction

Written on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 12:20

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has completed its first 5G auction, with a sale of 28GHz spectrum licensing which raised a cool $702 million.

The chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai expressed his delight at the successful completion of the first auction and said that it represented a significant step towards positioning the United States as a leader in 5G.

In addition to this, he declared that it was the objective of the commission to continue to pursue its strategy of pushing more spectrum licenses into the commercial marketplace. It was also confirmed that a 24GHz auction will take place in the next few months, and that will be followed by three more spectrum bands later in 2019.

The chairman of the FCC said that by that spectrum auctions were critical in helping it execute on its goal which enables US consumers to benefit from the benefits provided by 5G.

He said, “By making more spectrum licenses available, promoting the deployment of wireless infrastructure, and modernising our regulations – the three components of the FCC’s 5G FAST plan – we’ll ensure that American consumers reap the substantial benefits that will come from the next generation of wireless connectivity.

A total of 3,072 licences offered in 425MHz blocks were up for grabs in the 28GHz auction. Of these, only 107 received no acceptable bids. However, the identities of the winning bidders will remain private and anonymous until the close of the 24GHz auction.

Earlier in the month the FCC had reiterated its desire to continue to work on scheduled spectrum auctions, as it prepared to temporarily close down most of its other operations.

In November 2018, the agency had said it set strict performance requirements for the licences to encourage the swift rollout of 5G services - and will take dim view on any attempt to seek a waiver of the requirements ahead of construction deadlines.

Published in Telecom Operators

UAE telecom operator Etisalat’s former Nigerian operation, rebranded as 9mobile, will be purchased for $500 million by investment firm Teleology Holdings. An auction was held for the troubled operator, which became a new brand in the Nigerian telecom market in mid-2017 after Etisalat pulled out of the country.

The auction for 9mobile was supervised by Barclays Africa, which picked the highest bidder after four companies were shortlisted. Pan-African telecoms group Smile made a bid for $300 million and is said to be the reserve bidder. Nigerian operator Globacom also made a bid for an undisclosed amount, as did Helios Investment Partners.

Both Teleology Holdings and Smile have thirty days to prove they have the financial resources to pay for 9mobile. It was reported that Airtel Nigeria pulled out of the auction to purchase the operator because “too many things are hidden about the health of 9mobile”.

One area of concern is that two weeks ago, a Lagos high court in Nigeria ordered the board of 9mobile’s parent company, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS), to disband, after a judge claimed it had been established without authority.

The court's decision was made after Spectrum Wireless Communication, a company that invested $35 million in EMTS in 2009, claimed the board's approval was not in line with its interests and called for its contributions to the operator to be recognized. Now, United Capital Trustees, which is handling the sale of 9mobile, is appealing the court order.

The sale of 9mobile was entrusted to United Capital Trustees after it defaulted on repayments of a $1.2 billion load that was given to it by multiple banks. The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) supported the EMTS board, and had received bids from five parties for the sale of 9mobile.

The sale of 9mobile was extended in early January 2018 by the NCC to January 16 after the original closing date passed with no final decision. Reports speculated that the decision would be further delayed after a Spectrum Wireless Communication solicitor said anyone "who transacts business for the purpose of sale or acquisition of EMTS or 9mobile does so at his own risk."

9mobile became a new brand in the Nigerian telecom market in mid-2017 after its previous owner, Etisalat, and an investment fund, defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan. The operator, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, was saved by regulators. 9mobile is currently the fourth largest operator in Nigeria.

Published in Finance

UK telecommunications incumbent EE has threatened Ofcom with legal action if it doesn’t reverse its decision to set a spectrum cap on forthcoming 4G and 5G auctions. EE has been backed by rivals O2 UK as the fallout from the decision shows no signs of abating.

The UK regulator announced in July that it intended to impose a cap of 340MHz on all operators for spectrum expected to be usable by 2020, which was proposed in an effort to reduce the share held by EE, which is the country’s largest asset holder, and its parent company BT.

At the time of Ofcom’s announcement, both 02 UK and 3 UK expressed that the measures proposed fell short in their expectations, whilst EE believed the strategy was ‘unnecessary’. In addition to this, it was disclosed earlier this month that 3 were preparing to initiate a legal challenge, stressing that the regulator had failed to address competition concerns raised by the operator.

3 UK has been a long-term critic of the division of spectrum in the UK, and has vehemently opposed the current policy approach in relation to spectrum allocation. It has previously threatened legal action if Ofcom refused to address the market dominance currently enjoyed by both BT and Vodafone with its auction rules.

Analysts have now predicted that with legal challenges now likely, the 4G and 5G auctions for spectrum which were due to take place at the end of 2017, it will now be delayed until the issues raised have been resolved either through dialogue between Ofcom and the operator or through the courts. EE accepted the regulators decision on 4G, but stressed it wanted to be able to participate in the auction for the most of up-to-date 5G spectrum.

A spokesman for EE said it was reluctant to take legal action, but feels it has no other option to do so, citing that it had an obligation to protect its customers’ mobile experience. The EE representative said, “In response to 3’s action, we have made the difficult decision to challenge the proposed structure of the next auction of mobile spectrum. We need to protect our customers’ mobile experience, and help build the platform for the UK to have the highest quality 5G networks.”

Reports in The Financial Times suggest that Ofcom have declared that any legal action will put the future of mobile data at risk – and issued a warning that it could potentially have a knock-on effect on the rollout of 5G services.

O2 CEO Mark Evans declared that legal action would inevitably delay the auction, and criticized the approach that has been taken.  The CEO said, “Legal action will inevitably cause delay to the auction and gives no thought to the impact and harm this will have to UK customers, companies and economic growth. This country desperately needs more mobile airwaves. It is possible to hold the 2.3GHz auction now and grant immediate access to the newly-available spectrum. Ofcom can and must act,” he added.

Published in Telecom Operators

South African telecommunications firm Vodacom has been forced to delay its planned rollout of 4G services in some of the most rural and remote locations in the country - after it ran out of spectrum. The company’s CTO Andries Delport confirmed that the operator had exhausted its spectrum which subsequently limited urban availability of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A).

In addition to this, Vodacom’s CTO said that its rural 4G coverage initiative had reached 44% of the population, but due to the exhaustive demands on spectrum it was unable to expand its coverage further until more bandwidth is released by South Africa’s regulatory authorities.

Vodacom’s Head of Innovation, Jannie van Zyl echoed the sentiments of her colleague and stressed that the LTE-A rollout was also being constrained by the lack of spectrum assets available. It’s been a long-term problem in South Africa, with the country’s telecommunication operators long raising its displeasure with the slow release of the country’s airwaves, amidst internal squabbles and rows about how the spectrum should be allocated.

Vodacom’s CTO highlighted delays in clearing sub-900MHZ airwaves currently used for analogue broadcast. He believes that allowing access to the airwaves would dramatically quicken and increase the availability of 4G in rural areas.

However, clearing the band has been a long drawn-out process in South Africa, and operators have encountered red tape over the years. South Africa’s authorities were initially working to a deadline of January 2011 in relation to switching off analogue TV signals. The deadline has been moved several times in the years, with the move to digital only occurring in February 2016.

Delays in allocating new bandwidth for wireless services in South Africa has also been a long-standing problem. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa came under intense pressure from operators and government departments over its long-awaited 4G auction. Despite pressure and criticism the process was also postponed from its initial date of January 2017, after a row broke out over communications in the country.

The South African government formally announced a shared network deal in an attempt to increase broadband coverage on a national basis. This would see an open access network created which any operator could access through wholesale agreements.

Published in Telecom Operators

Telecommunication operators Three and Vodafone are closing the gap on UK incumbent EE according to analysis conducted by Root-Metrics. The company carried out 646,230 tests across all of the United Kingdom. It assessed the operators in six categories, which ranged from reliability, speed, data, calls, texts and overall performance.

Whilst EE still came out on top as the strongest performer, it was highlighted that both Vodafone and Three had closed the gap considerably. EE was given four awards by Root-Score, while both Three and Vodafone received two awards each.

EE won the best overall category, and also emerged as frontrunners in speed and data. In addition to this, it shared joint-first with Vodafone for text messaging. Three won outright across the UK for its reliability, and shared joint-first with Vodafone for call performance. O2 came last in all categories apart from text quality, where it finished third.

However, this represents a significant and telling change across the telecommunications landscape, last year EE won all the awards on offer by Root-Score. The latest findings declared that whilst EE is the best-performing telco overall in the UK, Vodafone was No.1 in Northern Ireland, whilst Three dominated in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland was the only region were 02 performed well.

General Manager of Europe for Root-Metrics, Scott Stonham, suggests that “the report only serves to reiterate just how competitive the UK telecommunications sector is,” he said.

“These latest results have really shaken things up and show the increasing competitiveness in the UK, particularly over the last six months. EE continues to lead the way, but Three and Vodafone are close behind. What is clear is that each operator showed strong performance in at least one particular country, while nobody was able to sweep the board at the four nation’s level. UK consumers have strong mobile options depending on how and where they use their devices most.”

A Senior Research Director on telecoms at HIS Markit said it was imperative that operators needed to invest in radio spectrum in order to succeed. “To succeed, mobile operators must secure sufficient radio spectrum and invest in the necessary equipment, sites and operational teams to ensure consumers enjoy fast reliable mobile broadband. With new UK spectrum allocations soon to be auctioned in the run up to 5G, these performance results provide a snapshot on the competitive balance between the UK mobile operators now, and highlight which operators most need to acquire new spectrum capacity if they are to be a future mobile performance winner.”

Fogg also stressed that the results which come ahead of a spectrum auction in September, could radically alter the balance of spectrum holdings, which would allow operators with smaller holdings such as Three and O2 to compete in a more efficient manner. 02 CEO Mark Evans, has already declared that he wants to see the auction commence soon and that it was compete ‘fiercely’ for spectrum allocation.

Published in Telecom Operators

The telecommunications sector in the Czech Republic has announced that two incumbents alongside two new industry players is dividing the spoils of the country’s 5G spectrum band. Existing operators O2 Czech Republic and Vodafone Czech Republic each gained a block of 40MHz in the auction of the 3.7GHz band which was conducted by the Czech Telecommunications Office.

New entrant to the Czech telecommunications industry PODA, also acquired 40GHz, whilst the other new telco player Nordic Telecom 5G received 80MHz of spectrum. However, there was disappointment for Suntel Net and T-Mobile Czech Republic who despite participating in the auction failed to acquire any of the available spectrum. Current operators faced a purchase limit of 40MHz, while new entrants could acquire up to 80MHz.

Reports emerging from the Czech Republic claim the government netted €39 million from the sale, with each block sold for seven times that of the reserve price. Chairman of the Council of the CTU, Jaromir Novak called the auction a success, which represented that the telecommunication market is geared towards the provision of data. He said, “The result of this successful tender indicates that the telecommunication market is oriented towards the provision of data services which are the core of functional data economy."

Industry analysts have stated that the 3.7GHz band is one of several that has been identified to be a ‘pioneer’ band for 5G in Europe, although there is much less availability of this band in the US and China. It’s been reported that the majority of operators both in Europe and globally are currently testing 5G technology in mmWave bands between 30GHz and 300GHz, which benefits include high bandwidth with lower coverage.

The GSMA has previously stated that it’s hopeful that the EU adopts an ambitious approach in relation to 5G policymaking. They said legislators should support proposals to make spectrum trading, sharing and leasing easier and asked for consistency among Member States in approaching the awarding of spectrum.

Published in Telecom Operators

Get your very own Transformer for $600,000

Written on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 09:09

A futuristic car which transforms into a robot is set to be unveiled at an exhibition that takes place at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi on November 23rd. The creation is the brainchild of Turkish company Letvision which have created this ‘auto-bot’ which has been named the Antimon. It is a red BMW E92 that turns into a robot in approximately 30 seconds.

It is the star attraction at ‘The Big Boys Toys’ exhibition that will allow fans of the Hollywood blockbuster Transformers see a car morph into a robot in front of their own eyes. However, the car does not come cheap – if you wish to purchase this futuristic mean machine it will cost you an eye-watering $600,000. Bids will begin at $600,000 which was the original cost of the car, but it is expected to go for more than that at auction.

The car was designed and developed by a skilled team of engineers – with twelve engineers and four technicians working on the innovative project over a period of eight months, and it will be won’t be the last as the company plan on developing 300 such cars per year - that will have more features and technology.

Those considering purchasing the vehicle with aspirations of test driving it on Sheikh Zayed Road will be ultimately left disappointed as the Antimon is remote-controlled – with no seats inside with a maximum speed of 20kph. But let’s not forget that Optimus Prime, sorry the Antimon turns from a car into a robot!

A spokesman for Letvision confirmed that there will be eleven cars joining the fleet in the forthcoming months. “Since it’s the first of its kind, we will auction Antimon to any buyer who wants to be the owner of the world’s first transformer. “Bids will start at $600,000, which is the original cost of the car, but there will be eleven more cars being made in the next number of months.”

Published in Gadget