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30 June 2011
Spain is holding the country’s first wireless spectrum auction with European heavyweights Telefónica, Vodafone and France Telecom all vying for their portion of the frequencies.
The auction, which started yesterday, aims to offset some of
the countrys $2.9 billion national debt. The first day of
bidding produced $1.27 billion, an alarming 38% under the
minimum price set by the government for the entire process
according to Reuters.
There are 11 companies taking part in the auction including
Spanish operator Jazztel, broadband provider Grupo Corporativo
Ono and the Basque-based cable company Euskaltel. The
businesses will all be competing in the 270MHz auction, which
includes a total of 58 blocks in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 2.6GHz
frequency bands. The results of the auction are to be announced
over the next 10 to 15 days.
As well as raising much needed funds for the Spanish
economy, the new spectrum allocations will allow operators to
cater to the growing demands for mobile data. There is also
pressure from the EU which requires Spain to make more spectrum
available to increase competition.
Across Europe operators are competing for spectrum to
further develop next-generation services. Earlier this month,
Capacity reported that French regulator ARCEP opened
the bidding in its 4G spectrum licence auction in which the
government aims to raise over 2.5 billion from telecoms
operators. To read the full article
Germany and Sweden are two of the few European countries to
have already completed 4G auctions. In Germany, despite strong
demand, the spectrum auction raised approximately 4.3
billion, falling short of many analysts' predictions and
dropping way below the 50 billion raised from the
country's auction for 3G licences in 2000.
Finland is also catching up with its Nordic neighbour with
telecoms regulator FICORA already allocating 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz
spectrum with auctions of the 2.5-2.69GHz band to follow.
Capacity ran a full-length feature on the issues
surrounding spectrum auctions in February (