Consultation of ACM’s draft recommendations about measures for mobile-frequency auctions


The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) gives advice to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) on the upcoming auctions of radiofrequencies for mobile communications. Today is the first day of the public consultation of ACM’s draft recommendations, in which ACM explains what measures are needed in order to protect competition in the mobile market. Market participants are given three weeks to submit their opinions about the draft recommendations.


In late-2019 or in early-2020, an auction of mobile frequencies in the 700, 1400 and 2100 MHz bands will be held. The 3.5 GHz band, which is important for the rollout of 5G, is expected to be put up for auction in 2021. EZK has asked ACM to issue recommendations for both auctions. ACM plans to conclude that it is plausible that sufficient competition will continue to exist for the next five years on the mobile market. Although ACM, generally speaking, prefers as many competitors as possible in the market, ACM does not consider it necessary to reserve space for a new fourth competitor in the frequencies that will be auctioned.  

In addition, one of ACM’s planned recommendations is that a cap of 50% be imposed on the total frequency spectrum that a single party can own. Such a ‘spectrum cap’ prevents a single party from obtaining  too high a concentration of frequency spectrum. Moreover, it limits the opportunity of a market participant participating in the auction to bid strategically in order to prevent a competitor from acquiring spectrum. In the planned recommendations, it is also suggested to impose such a cap on the possession of lower frequencies as well. These lower frequencies are necessary to achieve nationwide coverage of the mobile network in a cost-efficient manner.

Trends in the telecom sector

In October 2017, ACM already consulted an earlier version of these draft recommendations. However, with the merger of telecom operators T-Mobile and Tele2, a new situation was created, prompting changes to the draft recommendations. The revised recommendations have now been made available for public consultation.

Submitting your opinions

ACM offers interested parties the opportunity to submit their opinions about the draft recommendations. Comments and opinions will be taken into account when producing the final recommendations, which will be presented to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in March.

Opinions are welcome through 27 February 2019 at the latest. Please send your opinions to or to:

Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets
Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department
P.O. Box 16326
2500 BH The Hague
The Netherlands

If you have any questions about this consultation, please contact

See also

Draft recommendations for 2019 spectrum auction (in Dutch)