OPTA to hold frequency auction in October

9 Jan 2012

The Dutch telecoms regulator OPTA will auction new mobile frequencies in October this year, in the process reserving three spectrum blocks for new market entrants, the Economic Ministry said last Friday. The market is currently dominated by three incumbent network operators – KPN Mobile The Netherlands, Vodafone Netherlands and Deutsche Telekom’s local T-Mobile unit. However, the government is looking to increase competition, the Ministry said, and to that end is reserving two blocks of spectrum in the 800MHz band and one in the 900MHz band for newcomers. Dow Jones writes that the companies being linked with bids for the reserved bandwidth include Swedish pan-regional operator Tele2 and local cablecos Ziggo and UPC – both of which secured mobile spectrum last year but have yet to start any network build, or divulge any plans to do so.

Alongside the lower bandwidth auctions, the OPTA is auctioning off parts of the 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands. Groups wishing to participate in the upcoming October auction are expected to register their desire to participate by mid-April. Further, the Economic Ministry confirmed that the existing licences for GSM-900 and GSM-1800 2G mobile services are set to expire on 26 February 2013 and are not extendable at this date. The Ministry and Agentschap Telecom are exploring possible measures to alleviate or solve any problems arising from this, including the possibility that new permits could be adjusted to allow a transition period – giving the winners of spectrum time to roll out their networks.