Consultation on the award of mobile telephony frequencies usable from 2029

Biel/Bienne, 19.12.2023 - From 2029, various mobile telephony frequencies will be available due to expiring mobile radio licences. On 19 December 2023, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) opened a public consultation to determine the needs and intentions of the mobile communication sector and other stakeholders for these and other frequencies. The consultation is being conducted on behalf of the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) and will run until 26 February 2024.

Mobile communication plays a vital role in an increasingly networked society. In order to meet the growing demands in the private and public sectors and to guarantee the optimal provision of modern telecommunications services, needs should be clarified at an early stage.

In particular, the focus is on the renewal of frequency usage rights, which are currently allocated to Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom and expire at the end of 2028. These are the 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz frequency bands.

Additional frequency ranges for mobile communications

The consultation also includes frequencies that have not yet been used for public mobile communications. These are frequencies in the ranges 6GHz, 26 GHz and 40 GHz (see also the 'Millimetre waves' box). The possible utilisation and allocation of these frequencies for mobile communication applications presupposes that the industry identifies corresponding needs and that the regulatory, environmental and technical framework conditions are in place. Furthermore, these frequencies would first have to be made available for mobile communications use by the Federal Council.

In conducting the consultation, OFCOM and ComCom want to clarify the demand for frequencies and obtain the opinion of interested parties on the allocation of the frequencies - in particular from mobile communication providers, network equipment providers, associations and cantonal conferences. ComCom will determine the next steps after evaluating the results of the consultation.

The consultation runs from 19 December 2023 to 26 February 2024.

Millimetre waves in mobile communications

As part of the consultation, interested parties can also comment on the use of millimetre waves in the 26 GHz and 40 GHz ranges in mobile communications. Millimetre waves are frequencies in the range from approx. 20 GHz (i.e. electromagnetic waves with a wavelength of approx. 1-15 mm).

Millimetre waves are not used for mobile communications in Switzerland today. However, they are already being used for commercial mobile communications in some countries (e.g. Italy, Spain, Australia, the USA and Japan).

The Federal Council intends to approve the use of millimetre waves for mobile communications if users demonstrate that a need exists and that the necessary environmental legislation is in place, particularly in the area of non-ionising radiation. It made a statement to that effect in its report on postulate 21.3596 'Future frequency use in mobile communications in the millimetre wave range. Involvement of the cantons', which it adopted and published on 22 November 2023.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Communications OFCOM
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Federal Office of Communications