Austria

Information current as of 15 March 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in Austria?

Implementing 5G communication services is on the government’s agenda. For this purpose, the government has set out three phases:

  • Phase 1: Implementation of the first pre-commercial 5G trial installations by mid-2018.
  • Phase 2: Achieving the interim goal of an almost nationwide availability of ultrafast broadband network (100 Mbit/s) by the end of 2020.
  • Phase 3: Bringing 5G service availability to main traffic routes by the end of 2023; accomplishing nationwide 5G availability by the end of 2025.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

Since 5G is not yet available, it is not clear who will launch 5G services.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licences?

Yes.

What are the conditions?

Seven bidders have acquired usage rights in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band with a total market value of around EUR 188m. The three major mobile operators in Austria – A1, T-Mobile and Drei – have acquired nationwide licences in each of the 12 regions put out for tender. Four other bidders were granted regional frequencies. Following the conclusion of the auction, the major mobile operators have announced their intentions to expand and invest in their 5G networks in Austria.

As the next step, a multiband auction will take place in 2020 covering the frequency bands 700 MHz, 1500 MHz and 2100 MHz. It is expected that the multiband auction will be published in the autumn of 2019. Further information is available here.

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?

We are not aware of any rules drafted for the use of 5G services. However, spectrum holders are bound by coverage obligations which oblige them to use the spectrum awarded to them. The coverage obligations are intended to ensure effective use of the spectrum and prevent any hoarding of it while also encouraging rapid roll-out of 5G infrastructure. Failure to meet coverage obligations is subject to a fine of up to EUR 10,000 per location not operated.

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

Network operators 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). The open access obligations are applicable to physical infrastructure. This means any element of a network which is intended to host other elements of a network, without itself becoming an active element of the network. The network operator granting open access to third parties shall be paid appropriate compensation.