ComCom to sell off spectrum in multiple bands with a view to solving 4G bottlenecks and facilitating 5G rollout

Switzerland plans to allocate spectrum earmarked for 5G mobile services next year.

The country aims to kick off the award process in the spring with a view to allocating the airwaves in the second half of 2018, Switzerland’s Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) announced on Thursday.

The announcement comes one day after the country’s Federal Council approved changes to the National Frequency Allocation Plan, designating the 694 MHz-790 MHz range of frequencies for mobile rather than broadcast and taking other measures to enable additional bands to be used for mobile in future.

The decision covers spectrum in the 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 3.5 GHz-3.8 GHz bands.

In addition, there is an unsold block of spectrum in 2.6 GHz band that was left unsold in 2012 that will be reauctioned, ComCom said.

The 2.6-GHz spectrum is useable immediately, while the airwaves in all the other bands will be available from 2019.

"There is great interest in these new frequencies," ComCom said, citing the results of a public consultation it carried out over the summer.

The frequencies "will help overcome capacity bottlenecks in today’s 4G mobile radio networks," ComCom added. "On the other hand, these are important frequencies for the 5G mobile radio technology of the future."

ComCom will formally begin the award process with an invitation to tender in the spring, but it has yet to finalise the terms of the process. Interested parties will have a chance to comment on the draft tender documents.

"The award of the frequencies is planned for the second half of 2018," ComCom said.