Norway’s telecommunications regulator Nkom has announced the opening of 400 MHz of prime mid-band spectrum in the 3.8-4.2 GHz frequency range for enterprises to deploy private 5G networks. The new non-public network (NPN) licenses come at a cost between NOK 200 ($20.37) and NOK 3,800 ($387) per annum, with the purpose of providing an additional supplement to national cellular coverage rather than its extension.
Licence holders must keep a live log of all devices on their private 5G networks, along with their operational locations. To this end, roaming devices have been prohibited from using the 3.8 – 4 . 2 GHz band in Norway.
This move is in line with the European model for allowing private 5G deployment, first initiated by Ofcom’s shared access regime in the UK back in 2019. Nkom has also offered licences for low – power and medium – power base stations with bandwidths available in 20, 40, 60 and 80MHz configurations; low – power licences can be granted as geographic sites.
The spectrum frequencies made available are ideal for these kinds of deployments as they enable geographically bound small cells or local area networks to operate without interfering with nationwide cellular services or larger 5G deployments taking place across Europe. The availability of such frequencies is also predicted to lead to increased competition among service providers thanks to reduced barriers for entering into a market that had previously been closed off from smaller players due to infrastructural costs involved in setting up nationwide coverage versus localized deployments within specific regions and cities across Norway.
In accordance with European regulation regarding private 5G usage, Nkom requires that each license holder create a live data log showing which users are connected through their network and where those connections are being made—a key element that enables better control over these kinds of deployments while simultaneously ensuring lawful interaction among different operators throughout the region. Additionally, these regulations ensure that no single company can dominate the market while still offering enough flexibility to innovate and offer more competitive pricing models to customers buying into the Norwegian mobile telecoms industry outside of those offered by major operators like Telenor or NetCom AS.
Overall, this step taken by Nkom is expected to lead to greater levels of innovation across Norway as it allows companies big or small access to this valuable spectrum frequency which was previously closed off as part of EU regulations on countrywide 5G deployment standards set out earlier last year.