GSMA issues policy recommendations on spectrum pricing

Wednesday 22 February 2017 | 16:01 CET | News
Mobile spectrum should be priced low or end-users will pay the price with higher broadband fees, according to a new report from mobile industry group GSMA. The study ‘Effective Spectrum Pricing’ by Nera Economic Consulting for the GSMA links high spectrum prices to more expensive, lower quality mobile broadband services. Average final prices paid in auctions rose 250 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to the research. This has led to increased data prices and consumers losing out on economic benefits worth USD 250 billion across selected markets. 

While the GSMA is not opposed to spectrum auctions, it said "regulators should adopt spectrum policies that focus on maximising the benefits for society, rather than simply driving up the cost of spectrum". The focus of pricing policy should be on reducing risks and adopting a long-term perspective for social value creation. 

The report highlights four key pricing policy recommendations: set modest reserve prices and annual fees and rely on the market to set prices; license spectrum as soon as it is needed, so as to avoid artificial spectrum scarcity; avoid measures that increase risks for operators (e.g. that put the value of their company in jeopardy); and publish long-term spectrum award plans that prioritise public welfare benefits over state revenues. 

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