The Spanish Ministry of Industry has reportedly announced France Telecom and TeliaSonera as the only two bidders for the first batch of new mobile spectrum that is being made available as part of a raft of frequency sales due to be held this year. According to MarketWatch, the French telecoms giant has agreed to invest EUR431 million (USD605.7 million) over a three-year period in return for which, if the bid is accepted, its Spanish wireless unit Orange Espana would receive new spectrum in the 900MHz band. The concession will also carry a EUR126 million licence fee. For its part, TeliaSonera subsidiary Xfera Moviles (Yoigo) has emerged as the sole bidder for additional frequencies in the 1800MHz band after its parent company agreed to spend EUR300 million in the period to end-December 2013, in addition to paying out a EUR42 million licence fee. Spain’s two largest mobile network operators by subscribers, Movistar Espana and Vodafone Spain, were barred from submitting offers for this first batch of spectrum, amid claims such a block would ensure that frequencies in the country are more fairly distributed. The government is now expected to reach a final decision on whether to award the respective spectrum blocks to the duo on 2 June 2011.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in February 2011 the Spanish government revealed that it expected the previously announced sale of spectrum across a number of bands – some suitable for 4G LTE services – to raise between EUR1.5 billion and EUR2 billion. In addition, the state claims that the sale of frequencies in total will require investment of EUR1.2 billion by telecoms operators and will lead to the creation of some 40,000 jobs.