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Croatia reels in $56.2M from 5G-friendly spectrum

Hrvatski Telekom biggest spender ($20.4 million) in auction of 700MHz, 3.6GHz and 26GHz frequencies (and Croatia says hello to EOLO).

Hrvatski Telekom, Croatia’s incumbent, was quick off the mark to claim bragging rights on completion of the country’s auction of 5G-friendy airwaves.

In a statement immediately following publication of results by HAKOM, the country’s telecoms regulator, the operator reckoned it was now well placed to have the “biggest and fastest 5G network.”

The auction raised just shy of HRK 369 million ($56.2 million, 1 HRK = $0.16), of which Hrvatski Telekom accounted for HRK 130 million. The operator snagged the biggest blocks of spectrum available at 3.6GHz and 26GHz.

Notably, Italian FWA operator EOLO, in which Partners Group recently agreed to acquire a 75% stake, looks set to be a new market entrant. It scooped up a nationwide 200MHz block of 26GHz spectrum (HRK 7.5 million), along with some regional 3.6GHz license concessions (HRK 3.4 million).

Other regional 3.6GHz license winners were BeeIN, Digicom, Eco Net, Markoja and Terrakom.

Lay of the land (nationwide)

Telemach Hrvatska and A1 Hrvatska (part of Telekom Austria Group) secured nationwide licence concessions alongside Hrvatski Telekom, spending a total of HRK 108 million and HRK 105 million respectively. Each secured a 2x10MHz block at 700MHz, a 100MHz slice at 3.6GHz, and a 200MHz chunk at 26GHz.

It was Hrvatski Telekom, however, that secured the most airwaves. The operator bagged a 2x10MHz block of 700MHz (HRK 48.9 million), 120MHz at 3.6GHz (HRK 66.8 million), and two 200MHz blocks at 26GHz (HRK 15 million). Each nationwide license has a duration of 15 years, with some coverage obligations – vaguely set out by HAKOM in its press release of results – attached to 700MHz licenses.

Croatia’s incumbent appears to have a 5G head start over rivals, with 600 5G base stations covering 2 million people already in place. With the help of dynamic spectrum sharing tech supplied by Ericsson Nikola Tesla (ENT), Ericsson’s Croatian affiliate, it has been able to allocate 4G spectrum to the next-gen tech.

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