Re-allocation of mobile radio frequencies

Biel-Bienne, 30.04.2009 - The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) has opened a public consultation relating to the allocation options for free mobile radio frequencies and those that will become free in 2013 and 2016. In this way, OFCOM wishes to give interested parties the opportunity to comment and to determine the requirements and intentions of those involved. The consultation period lasts until 26 June 2009.

On behalf of the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom), OFCOM is currently carrying out the preparatory work for the licensing of free frequencies and those which will become free in 2013 and 2016 in various mobile radio bands. In order to be able to clarify the requirements and intentions of affected parties, the consultation includes questions on such topics as technological development, market development, allocation procedures, frequency configuration and the environment. On the basis of an evaluation of the consultation, OFCOM will submit proposals to ComCom as to how to proceed. An invitation to tender could take place during the course of 2010.

Within the context of an overall picture regarding future available mobile radio frequencies, ComCom is considering a re-allocation by means of an auction of the entire Swiss mobile radio spectrum that will be available from the start of 2014. Given the currently high level of prices in the Swiss mobile radio market, ComCom has taken into consideration the possibility of stimulating the mobile radio market by means of the preferential allocation of a licence to a new network operator. However, it rates the prospects of success of such a scenario as only slight: considerations of a technical, commercial and legal nature give rise to the estimation that promoting the introduction of an additional service provider with their own infrastructure is not particularly viable. Therefore, ComCom does not intend to introduce any special measures aimed at the promotion of the market entry of a new operator. For ComCom, the most likely option is a scenario whereby the auctioning of the entire available spectrum in small frequency blocks to all interested parties. From its point of view, under the given circumstances, this would be most likely to contribute towards stimulation of competition in the Swiss mobile radio market. Existing mobile radio service providers should also have the opportunity of acquiring a future-proof frequency configuration, in order to be able to contribute to more intensive competition and associated lower prices.

The consultation affects the frequencies in the GSM and UMTS mobile radio bands (900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz), as well as the frequencies of the so-called "digital dividend" in the frequency band from 790 to 862 MHz, which should be available for mobile services from 2015 at the latest. In particular, it includes the GSM frequencies allocated to In&Phone, Orange, Sunrise and Swisscom until the end of 2013, and the frequencies in the UMTS core band (2100 MHz) allocated to Orange, Sunrise and Swisscom until the end of 2016.

Address for enquiries

Urs von Arx, Head of Section, Mobile and Satellite Radio Services, Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), Tel. 032 327 58 56


Federal Office of Communications