The Role of HAKOM
HAKOM is responsible for planning and awarding of RF spectrum, which in the case of bands for 5G networks also means selecting the most appropriate award method (public call, tender or auction). In addition, HAKOM decides on the conditions to be set for future licences, which includes, among other things, defining the obligations of covering the geographical area with a given quality of signals and services.
Within the scope of 5G Working Group, initiated by HAKOM and through the cooperation of all relevant market stakeholders, key elements for successful implementation of 5G in Croatia have been identified, i.e. potential challenges and obstacles have been identified and the necessary solutions and measures are still being worked out to be removed.
Following the public consultations and considering the market situation, with the cooperation of expert consultants, HAKOM determined the parameters of the public auction. Within parameters for individual frequency bands, obligations to cover areas with 5G signal, such as urban and rural areas, motorways, railways and areas of special interest. In addition to the assignment of radio spectrum at national level, the 3600 MHz frequency band was also assigned at regional (county) level, in order to provide business opportunities for smaller, regional operators and to encourage the diversity of services and give end users the possibility to choose.
During July and August 2021 HAKOM conducted a public auction procedure to assign the 700 MHz, 3600 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands for 5G use. The bidding procedure started on 12 July 2021 and consisted of the main bidding stage and the frequency block allocation phase. In the main stage of the bidding, through one or more rounds, bidders submitted bids for the right to use one or more frequency blocks. Upon completion of the main bidding stage, which determined the amount of radio spectrum to be allocated to each bidder, an allocation phase was held, which determined the final allocation of radio spectrum between the bidders, i.e. the exact position of the frequency blocks of each bidder within a given frequency band. Licences were issued for 15 years for all area levels of allocation, except in the case of Međimurje and Varaždin County, where licences for technology other than 5G are already issued, that are valid until 2023 and for these areas new licences were exceptionally issued for 13 years. Upon expiry of the period of validity of the licence, validity may be extended by a maximum of five years, as defined by the rules at EU level.
At the national level, the radio spectrum was won by A1 Hrvatska, EOLO, Hrvatski Telekom and Telemach Hrvatska, which will ensure quality connectivity in the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia through the fulfilment of licence obligations. EOLO won the spectrum in 26 GHz band and entered the electronic communications market in the Republic of Croatia as a new player, which will ensure wider selection of operators and services for end users. In addition to the assignment of radio spectrum at national level, the 3600 MHz frequency band was also assigned at regional (county) level in order to provide business opportunities for smaller, regional operators and to encourage the diversity of services and give end users the possibility to choose. At the regional level, for individual counties, the radio spectrum was won by BeeIN, DigiCom, Eco Net, EOLO, Markoja and Terrakom. A detailed overview of the allocated spectrum can be found on the links: national and regional.
It is also important to point out that upon expiry of the currently valid licences granted to operators, HAKOM will launch a new public auction procedure in order to use these frequency bands for further market development. Currently granted licences for the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz frequency bands expire in 2024 and HAKOM plans to conduct a new public auction procedure for granting the right to use these frequency bands between 2022 and 2023. HAKOM will define the exact range of frequency blocks as well as other elements of the award procedure when launching the new RF spectrum assignment procedure.