Israel’s Ministry of Communications has officially begun tendering 5G-ready spectrum, with a raft of incentives to encourage operators to bid.
The process is expected to be completed by the end of this year, with commercial deployments to commence next year. Operators will be able to bid jointly in order to split costs, and winning bidders will not be required to pay for the spectrum until 2022.
Additionally, licensees that meet specific deployment goals will be eligible for a rebate on frequency fees for the first four years of their licence. The ministry is also making grants available. Participants will be able to bid on 4G/5G 700MHz and 2100MHz spectrum as well as 5G-exclusive 2.6GHz to 3.8GHz spectrum.
The ministry will be hoping to incentivise investment from the country’s three largest operators Cellcom, Partner Communications and Pelephone, along with the smaller players that entered the market in 2012 following new regulation. This led to price wars that have resulted in shrinking revenue for the major players, with mobile sector revenue declining by 5.6% in 2018.
The ministry’s deputy director general Ofer Raz Dror noted that Israel did not intend to price the spectrum too highly, saying: “We built this tender so it might not cost anything to the companies.”