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EZK’s preparations for the Dutch 5G network auction could continue News article

News | 11-29-2023 | 15:08

The nationwide availability of 5G technology in the Netherlands is essential to meet the additional demand from business and consumers for mobile data traffic. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) wants to auction off the frequencies needed for this purpose and, in line with EU commitments, has freed up space within the so-called 3.5 gigahertz (GHZ) band. The Rotterdam court today ruled in favor of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in all eight appeals against the plans. Preparations for the auction can now continue in 2024 – pending any appeal.

The companies, organizations and telecommunications service providers involved have filed appeals against EZK’s decisions in this area based on various interests. However, these desires and preferences varied so greatly that meeting each person’s individual preferences was impossible, and the minister had to balance interests. The Court agrees that these choices and considerations are understandable and well supported by evidence.

Minister Miki Adriaens (EZK): “It is good news for entrepreneurs and consumers that we can now pursue our ambitions in the field of mobile digital infrastructure. Because the Netherlands is now the last country in the European Union that can sell 5G frequencies and has thwarted technological progress and opportunities Digital for all Dutch people.

Changes in the national frequency plan

Mobile communications (such as 4G and 5G), as well as company-specific applications such as radio control of container transport or parking meters, operate on dedicated frequencies. Classification of this in the Netherlands – according to what is called National Frequency Plan (NFP) – It is determined by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, so that there is enough space and the parties do not disrupt each other’s use. Is there more (expected) demand for frequencies on the airwaves than availability? Then the decision can be made at auction.

In this case it is about the frequencies available in the so-called 3.5 GHz band. Local permits in this band had already been granted years ago and a commercial satellite company was already using the frequency space for (emergency) communications for naval vessels. Earlier this fall, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy concluded an agreement with this company to transfer these activities abroad. Existing local permits will be (partially) moved within this scope to enable national 5G networks. The Ministry has amended the National Action Program for this purpose.

Dutch businesses and consumers will be able to use 5G technology over national mobile communications networks after an auction during 2024. In addition, EZK is also making new local permits available to businesses and enterprises for private 5G wireless networks. In the 3.5 GHz band, 2×50 MHz (out of a total of 400) will be available for these local wireless applications from December 1 of this year.

Dutch industrial parks and within individual companies or organizations will soon have more options for their digital and wireless infrastructure. This can have added value for businesses in terms of autonomy, improved coverage or network performance. Companies will soon be able to build their own 5G network, jointly or separately, so they can use their own frequencies and on their own premises, for example. Virtual Reality Or control smart and complex devices such as self-driving vehicles or robots in factories.