Greece consults on 900MHz, 1800MHz refarming, licence renewal

6 Jan 2011

Greek telecoms regulator the National Telecommunications & Post Commission (EETT) on Tuesday launched a public consultation regarding the process of removing existing technology constraints to provide mobile services in the 900MHz and 1800MHz and the procedure for granting UMTS licences in the 900MHz band, with existing 2G licences of Vodafone Greece and Wind Hellas due for renewal by September 2012. The EETT has invited service providers, potential investors, professional and industrial bodies and other interested parties to submit comments and views on these issues until 4 February 2011. ‘The extension of new networks, together with the simplification of licensing procedures, is expected to contribute to the spread of mobile broadband,’ the watchdog said, with the scope of the consultation expected to include usage of frequencies for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. The regulator first held a consultation in July-September 2008 on the widening of usage of frequencies in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, including UMTS services, as per guidelines being adopted across EU member countries.

According to a report by suite101.com, meanwhile the process of renewing Vodafone and Wind’s mobile licences is expected to be finalised by the end of 2011 with the goal of raising over EUR300 million for government coffers, as the Ministry of Finance has already accounted for the amount emanating from the auction in its 2011 budget. A proposed auction will involve four 2×5MHz blocks of 900MHz spectrum, concessions for which expire in 2012, whilst a fifth 2×5MHz block requires consultation with the Greek military before it can be released. Licences will be valid for 15 years.