Bid strategy support in the 2019 and 2021 5G spectrum auctions, 3 Denmark (Hi3G Denmark ApS)

In 2019, the Danish spectrum regulator ran an auction to allocate frequencies for 700, 900 and 2300 MHz spectrum. Similarly, in 2021, it ran an auction for 1500, 2100, 2300 MHz, 3.5 and 26 GHz spectrum. Most of these bands are potential “5G” bands that will be used to roll out the next generation of mobile networks. Both auctions employed a complex multi-round format called a CMRA (combinatorial multiple round ascending) – in several stages to allocate different types of spectrum and coverage requirements. Each bidder could submit multiple bids in multiple rounds, subject to various constraints.

We engaged in a thorough consultation exercise to ensure favourable auction rules and the right spectrum caps (and “floors” to guarantee each MNO a certain amount of spectrum).

Preparing for the auction, we drew upon our expertise in auction theory and spectrum auctions to analyse the auction rules in detail and map out potential bid patterns. We built a complex simulation tool that implemented the auction rules in practice. We stress-tested various potential bid strategies for our client, subject to different assumptions about competitors, ran extensive “war gaming” sessions with the bid team, and probed the auction rules for potential loopholes which could enable our client to win more spectrum at favourable prices.

We provided the client with a “play book”, which outlined the optimal bid strategy. We provided live auction support and helped the client in interpreting bid signals during the auction and applying their strategy.

With our assistance, the client attained a thorough understanding of the auction rules and the trade-offs associated with employing various bid strategies towards pursuing their objectives.

Date of execution: 2018-2019 and 2020-2021