Spanish government aims to raise up to EUR2 billion from spectrum sale

15 Feb 2011

The Spanish government has said that it expects the previously announced sale of spectrum across a number of bands to raise between EUR1.5 billion and EUR2 billion (USD2.02 billion to USD2.69 billion), Reuters reports. The forecasts follow the state’s announcement last year that it would offer a significant amount of spectrum over different bandwidths, a move widely viewed as one which would reassure markets that the country would not require a financial bailout. The sale, the government has said, will require investment of EUR1.2 billion by telecoms operators and will lead to the creation of some 40,000 jobs.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in July 2010 the government unveiled initial proposals for the in-demand 900MHz spectrum, with the Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio (MITC) announcing it would allow the refarming of the 900MHz band in line with European regulations, following the return of frequencies in that band by Telefonica Moviles Espana (2.2MHz), Vodafone Spain (1MHz) and Orange Espana (1MHz), with a 5MHz block to be auctioned off in 2011; both Telefonica and Vodafone will be barred from participating in the sale process. Furthermore, Vodafone will be required to return a further 1MHz in the 900MHz band in 2015. A second auction will take place after February 2015 for two blocks – 5MHz and 4.8MHz – with the amount of spectrum available based on the 8.8MHz freed up following the expiration of TME’s 900MHz licence in addition to the 1MHz returned by Vodafone; all operators will be allowed to participate in this second auction. Frequencies freed up by the digital dividend meanwhile will also be offered for sale sometime after 1 January 2015, with the 2×30MHz of spectrum that is expected to be available to be auctioned off in six blocks of 2×5MHz. Spectrum in the 2600MHz band will be offered in line with the ITU’s Option 1; i.e. that 2×70MHz FDD be allocated to mobile broadband deployment and 50MHz be allocated to TDD (2570MHz to 2620MHz). National licences for four 2×10MHz, three 2×5MHz and five unpaired 10MHz blocks will be offered, alongside regional concessions for one 2×10MHz and one 2×5MHz block.