Review, for a European national regulatory authority (NRA), of its revised Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, and its Spectrum Assignment and Pricing Principles

Project executed on behalf of a European National Regulatory Authority (NRA)

Project Objective

Review the NRA’s draft revised Policy Spectrum Policy Program, and the accompanying Spectrum Assignment and Pricing Principles to ensure they are forward looking, aligned with international best practice and in accordance with national and EU policies on the use of spectrum to advance key policy goals.

Project Description

During the project, we reviewed the spectrum policies implemented by a set of leading countries in order to identify international best practices for spectrum management, pricing and assignment mechanisms.

In parallel, our review included an assessment of the local market, and the existing regulatory and legal framework to ensure that any recommended international best practices would be properly adapted to local realities.

Our assessment was focused on the current status of new emerging technologies for mobile telecommunications (5G), broadcasting (DVB, DAB+), fixed links, satellite (LEO), etc., and their expected future evolution, so as to ensure the definition of future-proof recommendations and a public policy on spectrum that would foster the introduction of new technologies in the country.

Figure 1: Comparison of 5G relevant spectrum allocations among leading countries
Figure 2: Comparison of DAB/DAB+ coverage and penetration among leading countries

Based on our assessment, we provided a set of recommendations to update the existing Spectrum Policy in areas such as:

  • The definition of a spectrum roadmap detailing the main spectrum bands to be released for assignment and the timeframe within which such assignment would happen;
  • Spectrum assignment methods and how these would best meet the needs of the local market;
  • Spectrum pricing principles to be adopted, in relation to both upfront charges for spectrum assignments and annual charges;
  • Licensing principles, in which all principal terms and conditions attached to spectrum licences were set out enunciated and explained, showing why such conditions were necessary in light of national objectives and the efficient management of spectrum resources generally;
  • Plans for the implementation of government policy regarding the use of spectrum through, for example, the deployment of State-funded mobile broadband networks and services;
  • Definition of frequency caps;
  • Inclusion of special conditions such as coverage obligations, QoS, QoE and SLAs, hand-back processes in case the spectrum is not used, etc.;
  • Potential definition of spectrum for private networks and spectrum assignment, and pricing mechanisms that allow its use in sub-country levels that are suitable for industry 4.0, smart logistics, smart agriculture, etc.

Key Takeaways

As a result of our project, the government and the public authorities of the country were able to implement a new, future-proof, spectrum policy for the coming years that will ensure the development and innovation in new business models for emerging technologies (e.g. 5G, DAB+, LEO) and use cases (e.g. industry 4.0, smart agriculture, smart logistics).