State awards mobile frequencies: Ziggo, Tele2 emerge as big winners

23 Apr 2010

The government of the Netherlands has allocated more than 50% of the licences it is selling off for fourth generation wireless internet and telephony services to firms without an existing wireless footprint in the country. Bloomberg reports the Ministry of Economic Affairs as saying that Tele2’s Dutch unit and Ziggo 4, a company led by the chief financial officers of domestic cablecos Zesko Holding (Ziggo) and Liberty Global Inc’s UPC Nederland division, each received four licences in the 2.6GHz frequency auction. The auction results also show that Royal KPN and Vodafone Netherlands each received two licences and T-Mobile Netherlands was issued with one. The state will now allocate the exact frequencies each firm has won on 26 April, at which time it will also disclose the prices paid for each concession.

In a separate development, Ziggo says it plans to issue EUR1.2 billion (USD1.6 billion) of high-yield bonds to fund the repayment of its debts. It is understood the net proceeds will be used to fully repay its mezzanine and credit facilities, including the debts owed by its subsidiaries. The company is estimated to have more than EUR1.5 billion in debts, used to finance the acquisition of its component companies – having been created in 2008 as a merger of cable operators Multikabel, Casema, and Kabelcom.

Netherlands, Tele2 NL (part of T-Mobile Netherlands), VodafoneZiggo