Austrian regulators allow operators to re-use spectrum for 4G

Austrian regulators have approved proposals by smaller operators in the country to re-use spectrum for 3G and 4G services and compete better with market leader Telekom Austria.

Regulators have now cleared operators – including Hutchison Whampoa and T-Mobile Austria – to re-farm frequencies initially acquired for 2G networks for use in their 3G and 4G offerings.

Hutchison’s Drei, which this week dropped an appeal against Austria’s 4G auction, will now launch 4G LTE services and plans to cover over half the population by 2014, competing directly with Telekom Austria.

T-Mobile Austria will also speed up the roll-out of its LTE network, and plans to cover 40% of the population by the end of the year, while market leader Telekom Austria is aiming for over 50%.

The move is mainly significant for Drei, given it lost out heavily in Austria’s 4G auction to its two rivals.