We support operators and regulators in managing, buying or selling spectrum, a key telecoms resource.

We help operators to understand their spectrum needs, value spectrum and bid in auctions. We have assisted bidders in over 90 spectrum awards worldwide, and we have advised on spectrum transactions worth over EUR10 billion. Notably, we have been involved in 5G spectrum awards, including in many of the world’s most advanced 5G markets.

We also assist regulators to shape spectrum policy, including designing spectrum awards and setting spectrum fees. Our understanding of the technical, market and economic aspects related to spectrum means that we are uniquely placed to help regulators formulate spectrum policy.

Our spectrum services

Find out more about our spectrum expertise


Our project experience

We provided ‘end-to-end’ support to a mobile operator in the Asia-Pacific region in preparation for an auction of 3.6GHz spectrum.

Our support included the development of a 5G network strategy, detailed spectrum valuations (for both our client and its competitors), and a bid strategy. To develop and rigorously test the bid strategy, we conducted Monte Carlo simulations of the auction and ran numerous mock auctions. Finally, we provided round-by-round bid support during the auction.

In the auction, our client won the maximum spectrum permitted by the caps in 12 out of the 14 regions.

Image: Our bid tracking tool

We supported a Western European mobile operator to prepare for a 5G multiband spectrum auction, providing consultation support, developing a 5G spectrum strategy, developing robust spectrum valuations and participating in the war room team.

In the consultation phase, we secured key changes to the auction rules, especially with respect to the spectrum caps. These ensured that our client would win minimum quantities of spectrum in the crucial 700MHz and 3.6GHz bands. The valuation model considered the EMF restrictions in detail as they are particularly restrictive in this country.

The insights from both the spectrum strategy and valuation exercises helped our client to secure its target package at a low price.

Image: Our online auction system

We advised the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands on its overall strategy for awarding the 700MHz, 1500MHz and 2100MHz bands.

The study considered when each band would become available and the linkages between the bands, in order to ascertain whether they should be awarded through one combined auction or two (or more) separate auctions. We also considered the packaging of the spectrum.

Our overall recommendation was for a combined auction of all three bands. The spectrum was successfully auctioned in 2020.

Image: Summary of demand for spectrum in 700MHz and 2100MHz bands

We supported a European operator with the development of its 5G strategy, including its spectrum strategy, planned network roll-out for both mobile and fixed wireless access, pricing, take-up and financial impacts.

We investigated potential threats and opportunities from 5G, such as potential loss of market share, reduced costs of existing services and enhanced FWA services. In addition, we developed a financial model to help quantify the potential impacts on our client’s key KPIs.

Our client successfully launched commercial 5G services in November 2019.

Image: Impact of ‘early’ vs ‘late’ 5G rollout

We undertook a review of annual fees for broadcast, fixed and fixed satellite spectrum on behalf of the Malaysian regulator, MCMC.

The project included international benchmarking of fees for each service in over 20 countries, including the approaches used for setting spectrum fees for each service, as well as the actual levels of fees applied.

Based on the results of our assessment, we recommended changes to the existing fees formula and associated parameters used for setting spectrum fees in Malaysia. These were subsequently considered by MCMC.

Relevant articles and reports

Our experts

Andrew Wright
Andrew WrightManaging Partner
Amit Nagpal
Amit NagpalPartner
Graham Louth
Graham LouthPartner
Lee Sanders
Lee SandersPartner
Marc Eschenburg
Marc EschenburgPartner
Kiril Minchev
Kiril MinchevManager
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