The launch of 5G is expected by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. It is expected that the procedure for granting frequency spectrum resources will start by July 2020. However, some experts in the sector express concerns that the launch could be delayed due to certain regulatory and legal matters to be considered and addressed. The main challenges are:
• spectrum release and efficient use of the spectrum;
• significant decrease of spectrum prices; and
• substantial simplification of the authorisation regime for the construction of telecommunications infrastructure.
Currently, the low bands suitable for 5G coverage – e.g. 700 MHz – are still used by the military. The 3.5 GHz spectrum is available, but the price is to be adjusted and synchronised with best practices in the EU so that it is accessible to operators and consumers. The Bulgarian Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications recently commented that the development of 5G is part of the European context and as such, the Government is committed to consider appropriate measures as decreasing the initial and annual fees collected for using the spectrum. The procedure for obtaining a construction permit for telecommunication stations would also have to be revised, as it takes between one and two years, and the development of 5G needs tens of thousands of stations.