Cristin Popa, ANCOM: “Big cities in Romania already benefit from 5G technology”
“We are in the midst of a digital transformation process, an accelerated pandemic process. This process has brought transformations in most industries and especially in the telecom industry. We must keep pace with these changes and we must be aware of the role we have, a role that ANCOM has in the development of communications networks and the infrastructure on which digitalization and digital transformation that we are talking about today must be developed.
Romania has a stable market, in which operators have invested using innovation as the main development tool. Romania was the third country in Europe where 5G technology was launched. In the process of digital transformation of the communications sector, it is necessary to implement 5G technology on a large scale,” Cristin Popa, Executive Director, Monitoring and Control Executive Division, ANCOM said during Digital Transformation Conference in Telecommunications 2021.
“We must complete the transposition of the Electronic Communications Code, but the adoption of the 5G Law transposing the basic elements of the Memorandum signed by Romania with the US strategic partner gave us the opportunity to make a first auction that was completed, and ANCOM removed the unallocated bands in the auctions had in 2012 and 2015.
We offered the opportunity to interested operators to maximize their spectrum portfolio in order to expand the capacity of their own networks. One of the big players on the local market has significantly increased the amount of spectrum on which it has usage rights, which will influence the strong competition on the electronic communications services market in Romania.
Following the auction, RCS & RDS must transfer within 15 days the amount of 42.7 million euros to the state budget. The second competitor in the auction was Invite Systems, which will pay 700,000 euros for the spectrum obtained.
Any spectrum allocation also comes with certain obligations to reduce the gap between urban and rural. Specifically, RCS & RDS has the obligation to cover 56 localities out of the 83 specified in the specifications. These are the ‘white areas’ where network development is not economically feasible. There are areas where the signal is not adequate or the signal is non-existent. The operator has the obligation to cover these 56 localities with data signal until the end of 2023.
Let’s not forget the previous obligations of the operators to cover 98% of the Romanian population. Our measurements showed that 3 out of 4 operators fulfil this obligation to cover 98% of the inhabited area of the country. The obligations of the operators will be permanently monitored and controlled by ANCOM. We are in a process of measuring the four operators on the telecom market. The goal is to measure the areas where operators have made substantial changes to the networks they have. We aim to make deeper measurements in 2022 on the quality of services provided by operators. The next step will be to make measurements to cover with 5G technology.
After the approval and publication of the Electronic Communications Code, ANCOM will be able to organize tenders for the new bands introduced for 5G technology. We are confident that the transposition of the Code will be completed as soon as possible and in 2022 we will be able to launch the new auctions for 5G technology.
The big cities in Romania already benefit from 5G technology. There are over 1,000 base stations with 5G technology installed. Most are in Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara, Iasi, and Constanta.”
Full recording of the event here