In an age in which 5G is just around the corner, Sweden has still not set a date for an auction of the most important frequencies, states Christian Luiga, CEO of Telia Company.
Listing China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Korea and the United States as examples of countries where auctions have already been held, the CEO suggests that the unilateral focus on excluding foreign powers from 5G has delayed 5G expansion in Sweden and harmed competition.
5G security concerns are larger than individual auctions intended for a new technology and should be dealt with accordingly, i.e. with general legislation and rules, which apply to all operators, regardless of the frequencies and technologies used.
Telia is geared up to lay the groundwork for the next stage in the digitalisation of Sweden but requires a political 5G roadmap, one which includes a final date for the auction of frequencies, he declares.
Mobile operator 3 Sweden is taking the Swedish Post and Telecoms Agency, PTS, to court, accusing the regulator of poor regard for competition considerations when it came to last December’s auction of the 700 MHz band for 5G.
Telia as well as the Net4Mobility joint venture of Telenor and Tele2 paid SEK 2.8 billion to acquire blocks, while 3 did not acquire any. 3 claims the auction was designed to benefit companies with the “strongest financial muscle”, thereby distorting competition and breaching a number of EU directives.
PTS has said it has the support of the European Commission, is working towards the government’s broadband goals and that a block in the 700 MHz band is not necessary in order to offer 5G services.
Australia’s government recently issued guidelines to protect its 5G network from “unauthorised access or interference”. Effectively, this blocked Chinese telecommunications equipment providers Huawei and ZTE from participating in the rollout of 5G networks in Australia.
Sweden’s Post and Telecom Authority, PTS, which is planning to auction licences for 5G services in the 694-790 MHz frequency band, now says it cannot make such demands. “What PTS can do is to make demands of certain protection mechanisms to be used in certain activities, such as encryption. But it is the users who have to take responsibility, those who buy the services of the operators. They must take responsibility for the fact that, if they have any special protection needs, they must make these demands of the operators,” says PTS’s Karolina Boström.
The Swedish government has launched an inquiry into 5G, one aspect of which is security. The inquiry’s findings will be presented on 31 October, with the auction starting on 4 December
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