ComCom prepares award of new mobile radio frequencies

Bern, 09.11.2017 - The need for new frequencies for mobile telephony in Switzerland is confirmed: the views expressed in the course of a public consultation conducted by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) in the summer of 2017 highlighted in particular the importance of the allocation of new frequencies so that Switzerland can implement 5G effectively. The Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) is currently preparing the award of the new mobile radio frequencies scheduled for the second half of 2018.

After yesterday's adoption by the Federal Council of the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP), the path is free for the award of frequencies which are henceforth to be reserved for use in mobile radio networks. This concerns extensive and attractive frequencies in the 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 3500 to 3800 MHz bands (cf. table); in addition there is a block of 2600 MHz frequencies for which no buyer was found in the last award in 2012. These frequencies can be used country-wide from 2019 onwards.

A public consultation carried out this summer indicated that there is great interest in these new frequencies. On the one hand they will help overcome capacity bottlenecks in today's 4G mobile radio networks. On the other hand these are important frequencies for the 5G mobile radio technology of the future. The timely introduction of 5G is of great importance for digitisation and innovation in Switzerland. In order to ensure that the frequencies can be used optimally, however, the very strict radiation limits for mobile radio (in the Ordinance on Protection from Non-Ionising Radiation) should be adapted.

ComCom plans to award the newly available frequencies within the framework of an award procedure which is expected to begin next spring with the invitation to tender. ComCom is currently drawing up the terms of the award. Interested mobile radio operators will then have an opportunity to express their views on the draft tender documents. The award of the frequencies is planned for the second half of 2018.

Results of the public consultation

A public consultation concerning the allocation of new mobile telephony frequencies in Switzerland was carried out by OFCOM in June and July 2017. This was the first stage of the preparatory work on the award of the new mobile telephony frequencies by ComCom. The summary of the results along with the position statements were published today on OFCOM's website.

In general, the frequencies which were the subject of the consultation are of great interest to mobile operators. The majority of the opinions stress that a sufficiently rapid award would make it possible to ensure that Switzerland does not fall behind at the European level in relation to 5G. Furthermore, the providers of mobile telephony services and other players are concerned about the restrictions imposed by the Ordinance on Non-Ionising Radiation (ONIR), which make it very difficult to implement 5G on existing sites in heavily populated areas. Those active in environmental protection are of the opinion that the procedure for awarding new frequencies for mobile telephony should not result in an increase in the level of non-ionising radiation. Finally, the organisations active in the safety and rescue sector are calling for the requirements in relation to security and availability to be laid down so that they can use the mobile telephony infrastructure for all their operations, of whatever nature.

The 57 position statements originate from mobile operators, sectoral associations and lobby groups, environmental protection groups, network equipment suppliers, authorities and enterprises within the Confederation and authorities and organisations responsible for rescue and safety, as well as other interested parties. The complete was published on the OFCOM together with the position statements and the summary of the results.

Address for enquiries

ComCom Secretariat / Dr. Stephan Netzle, ComCom President, phone +41 (0)58 463 52 90


Federal Communications Commission ComCom