Three cellcos pay EUR380.5m for 900MHz, 1800MHz frequencies

15 Nov 2011

Greece’s National Telecommunications & Post Commission (EETT) yesterday completed the auction of mobile operating frequencies in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, with the three incumbent cellcos paying a total of EUR380.5 million (USD521.5 million), higher than initial government expectations of raising up to EUR360 million to help pay off the country’s crippling debts. The entire range of spectrum on offer – including existing GSM allocations up for renewal – was sold under 15-year technology-neutral licences: 14 blocks of 2×2.5MHz in the 900MHz band and four blocks of 2×5MHz in the 1800MHz band. A portion of 900MHz spectrum was pre-assigned to each operator and cost them a total EUR181.7 million, and further blocks were auctioned in four rounds, raising EUR198.8 million. Cosmote, the mobile market leader owned by fixed line incumbent OTE, obtained four 900MHz blocks (2×10MHz) and two 1800MHz blocks (2×10MHz) for EUR118.8 million, while Vodafone Greece spent EUR168.5 million on six 900MHz blocks (2×15MHz) and two 1800MHz blocks (2×10MHz). Smallest operator by subscribers Wind Hellas did not win any 1800MHz spectrum but received four 900MHz blocks (2×10MHz) for a price of EUR93.2 million. The spectrum sale forms part of the privatisation programme begun earlier this year when Greece sold off an additional 10% stake in OTE to Deutsche Telekom; the measures have been promised in return for European Union bailout loans.