With an eye on reducing the country’s budget deficit, Spain has today launched an auction of spectrum across three frequency bands – 800MHz, 900MHz and 2600MHz – which it hopes may raise as much as EUR2 billion (USD2.9 billion), Bloomberg reports. With 58 blocks of spectrum totalling 270MHz up for grabs, the start of the sale process comes hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that the Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio (MITYC) had selected a total of eleven operators to participate in the auction. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the final list of pre-approved bidders was: the country’s three dominant mobile operators Telefonica Moviles Espana, Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana; alternative telecoms operator Jazztel; Basque Country-based telco Euskaltel; Grupo Corporativo ONO, Spain’s largest cable operator by subscribers; WiMAX operator Telecom Castilla la Mancha; Public Works and Telecommunications Navarra; the Consortium of Advanced Telecommunications (COTA) and two unspecified cablcecos based in Galicia and Asturias.
The sale is expected to conclude within the next two weeks or so, and the ministry has said that daily results will be posted on its website as the process moves forward, indicating the price for each block, although the names of leading bidders will not be revealed as part of the regular updates. Alongside raising much needed funds for the government, the sale of extra spectrum is aimed at enhancing competition in Spain’s wireless sector, which in turn it is hoped will help reduce prices for end users and increase quality.