EC, FNA reach agreement over mobile spectrum auction

22 Dec 2009

The European Commission has come to an agreement with the Federal Network Agency (FNA) over the German regulator’s mobile spectrum auction planned for the first half of 2009, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Matthias Kurth, president of the FNA, said the organisation will scrutinise the level of competition in the mobile market three months after the planned auction, and will take corrective action if there are competition issues. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, EU Commissioner Viviane Reding wrote to the FNA in October 2009 expressing concerns that the auction of the 800MHz spectrum could lead to discrimination by benefitting the market’s larger players, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile and UK-based Vodafone Group’s unit, Vodafone Germany. The two cellcos already have a much broader spectrum in the 900MHz band and now have the opportunity for two more blocks of 5MHz each. Meanwhile, the market’s two smaller network operators, Telefonica O2 Germany and KPN’s E-Plus, which currently mostly use the 1800MHz band, can bid for three blocks. The sale, which involves licences for spectrum freed up in the switchover from analogue to digital television, represents Germany’s largest spectrum auction since the allocation of UMTS concessions in 2000. A spectrum package of 360MHz is set for auction, including spectrum in the 1.7GHz, 1.8GHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz ranges, and 60MHz in the digital dividend range of 800MHz.