5G regulation and law in Serbia

1. What is the state of 5G deployment in your country?

Currently, 5G technology is not available in Serbia.

The Serbian Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (RATEL) had announced that it would launch the first 5G auctions in the third quarter of 2020, but has postponed this to the first quarter of 2021 due to COVID-19.

2. Are telecoms companies monetising 5G investments - or are the services provided to consumers at similar prices to 4G? 

We do not have information on how operators plan to monetise 5G.

3. Has 5G been launched for industrial purposes? For which sectors?

At the moment, 5G has not launched for any purpose. 

4. What is being done to ensure that a wide range of operators and industrial companies, from small to large, have access to frequencies?

N/A

5. What public tenders have awarded spectrum licences? 

N/A

5.1 What were the criteria for awarding each of the tenders?

The auction plans and tender documents are not yet available.

5.2 What are the conditions of the spectrum licence? 

The auction plans and tender documents are not yet available.

5.3 What is the price and how is it calculated?

The auction plans and tender documents are not yet available.

6. Is there a long-term spectrum plan or announcements for future tenders? 

There is no plan in place for 5G tenders yet.

7. If 5G specific rules are drafted, what do they say?

The three main priority bands being considered for 5G to date are the 700 MHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3.4-3.8 GHzs.

In October 2020, the Ministry of telecommunication has reserved the 2.66 GHz and 3.6GHz bands for 5G. Within the 2.66 GHz, the frequency sub-band 2500-2570 MHz is paired with 2620-2690 MHz for FDD operation, whereas the unpaired frequency band 2570-2620 MHz is left to be assigned either for TDD or for SDL. The 3.6 MHz band is divided into 80 blocks of 5 MHz based on TDD (3645 MHz-3700 MHz and 3745 MHz-3800 MHz).

In November 2020, RATELconcluded a public consultation on the allocation of the 700 MHz band for mobile services. According to the proposal, RATEL plans to make available 2 x 30 MHz (six blocks of 2x5 MHz) in the 700 MHz band for MFCN. The paired frequency sub-bands 703-733 MHz and 758-788 MHz will be available for MFCN networks in FDD operation mode, as well as 15 MHz, i.e. the 738-753 MHz sub-band, for SDL.

The paired frequency bands 698-703 MHz and 753-758 MHz (2x5 MHz) and the paired frequency bands 733-736 MHz and 788-791 MHz (2x3 MHz) may be allotted for use in full or in part for the Broadband-Public protection and disaster relief (BB-PPDR) radio communications.

It is expected that RATEL will announce its auction plans early next year.

8. What focused 5G network or spectrum sharing regulation exists?

At the moment, there is not 5G-focused regulation on network sharing and spectrum sharing.

9. Are 5G network sharing or spectrum sharing agreements in place? 

No, there are no network sharing or spectrum sharing agreements in place.

10. What are or will be the rules for granting competitors access to new 5G networks once they are deployed?

There are no specific rules on active infrastructure sharing, apart from the general provision in the Telecommunication Act under which the operator is obliged to negotiate with other operators. Any spectrum sharing agreement, however, must be approved by RATEL.

11. What comments have been made regarding 5G cyber-security and possible use of Chinese technology, including regulation?

There are no formal legal restrictions. In September 2020, Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement to normalise economic ties with the strong support of the US administration. This agreement also includes a commitment by both parties not to use 5G equipment supplied by “untrusted vendors” in their communications network, or to remove such equipment if it is already in place.

The phrase "untrusted vendors" has not been defined, giving rise to speculation that this is a euphemism for Huawei.  Officials, however, have denied this speculation, stating that Serbia will ensure transparent and technology-neutral procedures for 5G auctions, enabling all operators to have the right to purchase equipment from any manufacturer.

Portrait of Srđan Janković
Srđan Janković
Attorney-at-Law
Belgrade