State aid: Commission approves €10 million compensation to release the 700 MHz band for 5G mobile telecommunication networks in Spain

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Spain’s plans to compensate the direct costs incurred by digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasters to migrate from the 694-790 MHz frequency band (the “700 MHz band”) to lower frequencies. This migration follows a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council in 2017 that imposed the release of the 700 MHz band from DTT use by June 2020, to allow the deployment of 5G mobile telecommunication services. The 2017 Decision provides that Member States should ensure the availability of the sub-700 MHz band for DTT until 2030 and may compensate the direct costs incurred by DTT operators for replacing part of the transmission equipment. The Commission assessed the aid measure under EU State aid rules and found that the aid of €10 million is limited to the costs that are strictly necessary for the migration, and has no significant impact on trade and competition. Furthermore, the measure will contribute to the EU’s objective of introducing 5G mobile services, while keeping DTT services available for consumers. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.51080 once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.