Italian 4G spectrum process finally underway

28 July 2011 | Kavit Majithia


A total of five Italian telecoms operators have submitted applications to acquire 4G mobile frequencies, as the country’s 4G auction draws ever closer.

The four major Italian operators, Telecom Italia Sparkle (TIS), Vodafone Italia, Wind SpA and Hutchison Whampoa 3 Italia, are joined by broadband provider Linkem SpA in the applications, and the auction is due to be completed at the end of September.

Italy’s industry minister Paolo Romani said the government expects to raise at least €3.1 billion from the auction, and will announce a list of operators admitted to bid in the auction by the end of this week. Germany’s 4G auctions last year generated over €4.4 billion and the country has since seen rapid developments in the development of the country’s 4G LTE-based network.

Last month, Italian regulator AGCOM made a speech to the Italian parliament urging both operators and the public sector to make investments in the development of Italy’s fast fibre-based network, fearing that falling behind other European markets could severely affect economic growth and competitiveness in telecoms.

The regulator also reiterated the need for a quicker process to the 4G spectrum auction, which is behind the developments in the European markets of Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, UK and France.

Citing fears that a lack of available frequencies will result in data traffic and potentially a collapse of the present mobile network, the regulator wants new frequencies to be available to winning operators by January 2013.