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Amid fears of 5G licence fee inflation, some regulators are bucking the trend

Auctions of 5G-targeted spectrum continue to pile up around the world, with most regulators selling 3.5 GHz midband licences first and planning to offer sub-GHz and millimeter wave assets at a later date. The bands may be similar, outside North America at least, but policies on minimum pricing vary wildly – and so, therefore, do the economic considerations for operators. At one extreme is Japan, which gives spectrum away on a beauty contest basis; China allocates it to the incumbent operators (plus, this time, China Broadcast Network). So far, Asian countries which do conduct auctions have tended to go with lower reserve prices, prioritizing rapid roll-out over money for government coffers. South Korea’s auction prices were among the lowest, per…

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