A total of nine companies have qualified to take part in the Dutch government’s planned auction of 2.6GHz radio spectrum, due to start on 20 April 2010, Telecompaper reports. The Netherlands’ spectrum regulator Agentschap Telecom set a deadline of 8 January for potential bidders to submit applications and has now completed its evaluation process. Depending on the auction’s duration, it now expects to issue the requisite licences – which can be used either for WiMAX or LTE services – in May or early June. The government hopes the tender will encourage at least three new service providers to enter the market. Of the total 190MHz make available, 135MHz is being set aside for new entrants. Moreover, incumbent cellcos KPN Mobile, T-Mobile and Vodafone are subject to a spectrum cap (20MHz for the first two named). It is understood licences will be offered in blocks of 2×5MHz (paired) and 1×5MHz (unpaired). A minimum of 38 licences will be offered (regardless of demand), sub-divided into at least 25 blocks of spectrum comprising 13 paired block and twelve for unpaired use.