March 30 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's caretaker government has reduced by 40% the one-off fees payable by companies for the use of two new frequency licences used in the roll-out of 5G wireless networks, the communications regulator said.
The reduction applies to licence fees due for the acquisition of radio frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands as well as to the fees for the use of a radio frequency spectrum for point-to-point networks, the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
In a separate statement, the government said that it expects to collect a budget revenue of around 130 million levs ($72.2 million/66.5 million euro) in 2023 from licensing the two frequencies that have not been used for civil needs and have not contributed to state budget revenue. Mobile operators are then expected to pay annual licence fees of close to 8 million levs for the frequencies.
The move is seen as a tool to spur investments in 5G network rollout by the telecoms operators. It is also a required measure to guarantee funds for efficient use of the radio spectrum that are to be disbursed under the national Recovery and Resilience Plan.
"Bulgaria must complete the procedures for granting use of the radio frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands, on which the accelerated deployment and upgrade of 5G networks depends. Our country is one of the last in Europe where this range is not yet used to provide fifth-generation mobile services," the government said.
In 2021, CRC awarded 20-year 5G frequency licences with national coverage to the three main telecoms operators active in the country - A1 Bulgaria, Vivacom and Yettel Bulgaria, formerly Telenor Bulgaria.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)