Slovakia

Information current as of 19 February 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in Slovakia?

By 31 December 2017, Slovakia had concluded all the necessary cross-border frequency-coordination agreements with neighbouring countries (Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Ukraine) in accordance with Article 1.2 of the Decision (“Decision 2017/899 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union”). Signing these agreements led to preplanning of nationwide digital terrestrial television layers. It is envisaged that frequencies will be retuned in Slovakia to make way for releasing the allotments in the 700 MHz band between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. Frequencies from the 700 MHz band will be mainly used to build fifth-generation mobile networks (5G).

The deadline for making the 700 MHz band available for wireless broadband electronic communications services is 30 June 2020, although several changes still have to be put in place, not just in nationwide and local digital terrestrial TV service multiplexes, but also in wireless microphones.

However, in order to successfully release of the 700 MHz band and maintain the existing state of digital terrestrial broadcasting in Slovakia, a relatively large number of changes in existing digital terrestrial television networks would need to be carried out. The envisaged release of the 700 MHz band in Slovakia would be time-consuming, economically difficult and technically challenging – key issues include: exposure to risk and the loss of digital terrestrial TV viewers; high costs to rebuild the broadcasting infrastructure; SFN operation exceeding the guard bands; limited frequency sources for local digital terrestrial TV; and unavoidable higher costs for end-users. Rolling it out in Slovakia will depend on cooperation between the relevant players.

The summary process for releasing and repurposing the 470-790 MHz frequency band is summarised below:

1. Releasing and repurposing the 470-790 MHz frequency band

From 01.07.2019 to 30.06.2020

Releasing and making the 700 MHz frequency .band available

2019

Public consultation on use of the remaining 694-703 MHz, 733-758 MHz and 788-791 MHz frequency ranges.

2nd half of 2019

Electronic auction to allocate frequencies from the 700 MHz band.

2. Transition to DVB-T2 broadcasting

From 01.07.2019 to 30.06.2020

Partial transition of digital terrestrial TV from DVB-T to DVB-T2.

At the earliest after 30.06.2022

Final transition from DVB-T to DVB-T2.

3. Information campaign – retuning frequencies and transitioning to DVB-T2 broadcasting

From 01.07.2018

Preparing an information campaign.

1st quarter of 2019

Approving the information campaign.

From 2nd half of 2019

Running the information campaign.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

All the communications players and telcos would like to launch 5G services.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licences?

What are the conditions?

In order to achieve the maximum degree of transparency, it is envisaged that frequencies from the 700 MHz band will be allocated by means of electronic auction. Its date has yet to be fixed. However, the Regulatory Authority is anticipating that it will take place during the second half of 2019. Therefore, the tender conditions are not yet stipulated. Before the tender itself there must be public consultation, which will be handled by the Regulatory Authority.

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

The government supports spectrum licences for commercial use.

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

No specific direct rules have been drafted yet for the use of 5G services. However, Slovakia adopted a coherent national roadmap to facilitate the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services while ensuring continuity for the television broadcasting services that vacate the band. This roadmap for the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Slovak Republic covers: activities and timescales for frequency replanning; technical developments for network and end-user equipment; coexistence between radio and non-radio equipment; existing and new authorisation regimes; mechanisms to avoid harmful interference with spectrum users in adjacent bands; and information on the possibility of compensation for migration costs, where such costs would arise, in order to avoid costs for end users or broadcasters.

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

According to the information obtained from the respective authorities and concerning the preparation of the steps towards 5G, we are not aware of any rules drafted for such access. However, spectrum holders are bound by obligations, whose breach may lead to penalties or even withdrawal of their licences. The assignment of the 700 MHz frequency band should be structured in a way that facilitates competition and should be carried out in a manner that does not undermine existing competition.