5G regulation and law in Croatia

Information current as of 9 January 2020

What is the state of 5G deployment in Croatia?

5G services are currently in the pre-commercial phase in Croatia.

According to the decision of the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (“HAKOM”) the band 3.4 – 3.6 GHz - 90 MHz is currently available in part of Croatia, and after 4 November 2023 will be available nationwide. Further, the band 24.25 – 27.5 GHz is already available in Croatia, while the band 3.6 – 3.8 GHz will be available after 31 December 2020.

With respect to timely distribution of the 5G band, a National Action Plan for making the 700 MHz band available is being drafted but has not yet been adopted by the Croatian government. In order to maintain the range of the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band, HAKOM began the process of re-planning and negotiating with licence holders about using the RF spectrum in that band.

Further, amendments to the Regulation on Payment of Fees for Addresses, Numbers and Frequency Spectrum (Croatian: “Uredba o plaćanju naknada za adrese, brojeve i RF spektar”) have been adopted to: (i) address the problem of paying large charges for the RF spectrum; (ii) reduce the RF spectrum fees to make the spectrum required for 5G more accessible; and (iii) stimulate the investment needed for the successful introduction of 5G.

Also, the Ministry of Health has initiated an amendment to the Regulation on Electromagnetic Field Protection (Croatian: “Uredba o zaštiti od elektromagnetskih polja”), which has resulted in an incremental increase in the periodic measurements of the strength of electromagnetic fields. Now, measurements must be carried out once every two years instead of once every three years.

However, the complete range of functionality is expected to be achieved in the period between 2025 and 2030.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

In Croatia, three companies are launching 5G: Hrvatski Telekom d.d. (“HT”), A1 Hrvatska d.o.o. (“A1”) and Tele2 d.o.o. (“Tele2”). HT and A1 expect to implement commercial 5G networks around 2020, while Tele2 has not yet made an announcement in this regard.

HAKOM also issued temporary licences to A1 and HT to use the radio frequency spectrum in the 3.6 GHz range in several towns, i.e. Jastrebarsko (A1) and Pula (HT), which helped A1 and HT to test the new technologies prior to the 5G network’s introduction. HT has also been approved to conduct tests in Osijek, Samobor, Split, Rijeka and Krk, while A1 has been approved to conduct tests in Zagreb and Jastrebarsko.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licenses?

No, there are no public tenders for spectrum licences.

What are the conditions?

Currently in Croatia there are no public tenders for spectrum licences.

What has the government said regarding spectrum licences for commercial use?

The government is taking a positive position towards 5G spectrum licences for commercial use and has emphasised the associated opportunities for citizens, the economy, industry and science.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

The Croatian Law on Electronic Communications sets out the rules governing the high-speed electronic communications network. However, we are not aware of any specific rules drafted for 5G services.

Therefore, at the national level, the adoption of implementing documents on the development of 5G infrastructure is forthcoming, as well as alignment with European Union legislation in order to create a stimulating investment environment.

What are or would be the rules for granting competitors access to the new 5G networks, once they are deployed?

In our opinion, network operators would have to grant third party operators of electronic communications networks access to their physical infrastructure to the extent that the joint use is economically reasonable and technically feasible (open access obligations). Network operators that grant open access to third parties will be paid appropriate monetary compensation.

Picture of Marija Musec
Marija Mušec
Partner
Zagreb