BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's government will have to play a role in building a 5G network in co-operation with service providers to ensure the infrastructure is put in place quickly, the innovation and technology minister said on Tuesday.
Hungary aims to start 5G services at major industrial sites in 2020 and the network should cover all big cities and main transport routes by the middle of the next decade, Innovation and Technology Minister Laszlo Palkovics said.
Hungarian telecoms regulator NHMM published on Monday the draft documentation for the sale of more than 400 megahertz of 5G spectrum later this year.
The main mobile players in Hungary are Deutsche Telekom unit Magyar Telekom, Vodafone and Telenor.
Construction of 5G mobile antennas to provide sufficient national coverage could cost up to 700 billion forints ($2.4 billion) under a purely market-based solution, Palkovics said.
"The state has to play some role in the construction of 5G network infrastructure, otherwise it could be slow," he told a conference, but did not specify what the government's role would be.
"If we co-ordinate this with service providers, the build-up of the infrastructure can be faster."
Palkovics said Hungary hoped to wrap up the sale of 5G frequencies faster than Germany, where a 5G mobile spectrum auction raised 6.55 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in a record 497 rounds of bidding.
The ministry plans to submit a national 5G strategy to the government by mid-July, Palkovics said.
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Susan Fenton)