First Dutch 5G auction begins with 900 million euro floor

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The first Dutch government auction of bandwidth for 5G networks began on Monday with a 900 million euro ($1 billion) floor and network owners KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile participating.

The Dutch government is selling bandwidth in the 700, 1400 and 2100Mhz airwave ranges.

Competitors will submit bids in a series of daily rounds determined by the auctioneer. The auction must be finished by Aug. 1, but an earlier outcome is likely. No company can take more than 40% of the available bandwidth in each range.

The Dutch roll-out of 5G has lagged behind other European countries, though Vodafone said in April it had begun offering 5G services over its existing 4G network.

The auction in the Netherlands of the 3.5Ghz range most commonly associated with 5G has been delayed as the Dutch government moves a ground satellite system that would interfere with it to a new location.

The auction of that spectrum is expected in early 2022.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Jan Harvey