Romania can't award the first 5G licenses before the end of this year, not even if the Government publishes in the Official Journal the documents that the telecom regulatory body ANCOM has been waiting for to initiate the auction, ANCOM deputy head Eduard Lovin said at a conference.
Under the budget revision drafted by the Finance Ministry in August, the Government relies on RON 2.5 billion (EUR 515 million, 0.25% of GDP) revenues from the telecom groups for the 5G licenses.
"Our efforts to provide the additional 350 MHz of spectrum (for 5G services) have been delayed due to the lack of a Government decision setting the minimum starting prices, as well as the lack of a document clarifying and transposing the Government Memorandum on the security of 5G networks," Lovin explained, quoted by Agerpres.
Nonetheless, not only the 5G services or the budget revenues are at stake - but the smooth functioning of the telecom networks as they are now, ANCOM official implied.
He argued that Romanian telecom operators need additional spectrum even if they do not develop applications based on the 5G technology.
"Mobile internet traffic has been doubling in Romania every year, over the last three or four years. Additional spectrum is needed even without 5G. To have an image, the four mobile networks in Romania currently use [frequency bands with a total width of] 770 MHz to provide services," he said.
However, 5G has also become a high political stake as the US has been pressing for eliminating Chinese group Huawei from the development of 5G networks in Europe, including Romania.
The US and Romanian Governments signed, in August 2019, in Washington, a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of 5G technology. This document sketches several principles for selecting safe providers of 5G technology.
The new US ambassador to Romania has repeatedly warned against using Huawei as a 5G technology provider.
Meanwhile, the Chinese group argues that its elimination from this process would result in higher service costs.