Leonidas Kanellos, the chairman of Greek telecoms regulator the National Telecommunications & Post Commission (EETT), has confirmed in a press conference that mobile frequencies currently used for GSM services by cellcos Vodafone Greece and Wind Hellas will be auctioned in autumn this year via a sale of four 2×5MHz blocks of 900MHz spectrum under new 15-year licences. The relevant concessions of Vodafone and Wind (‘Wind 1’ and ‘Vodafone 1’, each consisting of 2×10MHz in the 900MHz band) run out on 29 September 2012 and they must take part in the competitive tender in order to renew their rights to use these resources. Vodafone Greece also holds an additional 2×5MHz in the 900MHz band, which does not expire until August 2016. Both companies also hold GSM-1800 spectrum concessions (valid until August 2016) and 3G 2100MHz licences running until 2021. As previously reported in CommsUpdate, a fifth 2×5MHz block of frequencies proposed for open sale by the EETT requires consultation with the Greek military before it can be released, whilst the frequency auction is part of a programme of refarming 900MHz and 1800MHz GSM spectrum, with UMTS 3G services to be allowed in all bands. Mr Kanellos told the press conference that the autumn sale should raise over EUR244 million (USD328 million), as estimates based on international benchmarks indicated that each of the initial four blocks of spectrum for sale are worth ‘between EUR61 million and EUR90 million’, giving a top estimate of EUR360 million.
Greece’s mobile market leader by subscribers, partly state-owned Cosmote, holds 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz concessions due to expire in 2017, 2020 and 2021, respectively.