The latest GSA report indicated prices paid for spectrum in C-band, millimetre-wave and 700 MHz during the recent auctions.
2021 saw spectrum auctions and assignments reach $140.1 billion, a huge increase on the 2020 value of $37.7 billion.
So far in 2022, a total of $24.2 billion has been allocated, with the recent auction in India accounting for a large proportion of this, GSA said.
GSA said pricing data supplied in this document only includes completed auctions for which GSA has all the prerequisite data to calculate a price per MHz of bandwidth per population for an individual band.
The US auction of 3.7 GHz-to-3.98 GHz spectrum in 2021 continues to hold its record high price for C-band spectrum of $0.875/MHz/pop, which is still significantly higher than the recent average price of $0.118/MHz/pop.
C-band allocations have been added for five countries. Of these, only Korea’s allocation to a single bidder of an additional 20 MHz was above the recent average price. The Isle of Man had a price of $0.105/MHz/pop, followed by Belgium at $0.058/MHz/pop and Estonia at $0.040/MHz/pop.
GSA said India’s most recent 5G C-band auction, despite bringing in a total of $11 billion, recorded just $0.031/MHz/pop. For India’s 2022 auction, some weighted-average calculations have been applied where acquired spectrum holdings were not nationally representative
In 2021 six millimetre-wave auctions designed to support 5G deployment completed: in Chile, Slovenia, Denmark, Australia, Croatia and Brazil. In 2022 there has only been one such auction so far, in India for the 26 GHz range. This brings the total number of countries to have licensed millimetre-wave spectrum to 24.
The prices paid for millimetre-wave spectrum have been much lower than those for C-band spectrum to date. India’s 26 GHz auction achieved the second-lowest price recorded, at just $0.0007/MHz/pop, despite creating $2 billion in revenue.
Spectrum at 700 MHz has been used for LTE services for some time. However, it has also gained interest for use in 5G networks, as it affords the ability to achieve wide 5G coverage. In 2021, 12 countries held auctions or assignments of spectrum at 700 MHz and many more are planned for the remainder of 2022 and beyond.
GSA’s data shows that spectrum at 700 MHz has generated $0.325/MHz/pop since 2015, significantly above the average C-band price. Belgium bucked the recent trend of a decline in the valuation of 700 MHz spectrum, achieving an above average price of $0.488/MHz/pop.
India had one bidder (Reliance Jio) and achieved an above average price, $0.380/MHz/pop, making the 700 MHz band the highest-valued of all recent auctioned spectrum. The Isle of Man achieved a price of $0.185/MHz/pop.