Italy’s communication minister Paolo Gentiloni intends to launch a tender to sell frequencies for WiMAX wireless broadband services by the end of September 2007, government sources have revealed. The sale procedure should be completed by the end of the year and while the frequencies will not be given away, they will not fetch anything like the USD11.2 billion raised from the sale of five UMTS concessions in October 2000, said the moles. ‘I can’t say how much,’ said one. ‘The objective of the government is to get the maximum but the main objective is to get wide use of WiMAX in all regions of Italy. In particular, the aim is to get high speed internet services to regions that don’t currently have them, such as mountain regions and some parts of the south,’ he said.
In a recent consultation organised by the regulator Agcom (Autorità per le Garanzie Comunicazioni), eleven companies expressed interest in frequencies for national WiMAX coverage. Agcom said a maximum of three licences should be offered in each region to guarantee sufficient investment and ensure quality of service, while at the same avoiding the risk of a monopoly provider of WiMAX services emerging. It also said that one of the licences should be reserved for a new entrant, and that winning operators will have to reach certain coverage requirements within 30 months of receiving their 15-year licences, or risk losing them.