ANCOM reveals price-tags for LTE spectrum; final documents expected by 1 May

15 Mar 2012

Romanian telecoms regulator the National Authority for Management and Regulation of Communications (ANCOM) has declared that it expects to issue the final documents relating to its auction of Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable frequencies by 1 May. The confirmation coincided with the watchdog’s announcement of a set of starting prices for the spectrum that is expected to go under the hammer. Six paired spectrum blocks in the 800MHz band will start at EUR35 million (USD45.7 million), whilst 900MHz frequencies will be priced at EUR40 million. 1800MHz spectrum will cost EUR10 million per block, with 2600GHz spectrum priced at between EUR3 million and EUR4 million. The winners of spectrum in the 800MHz and 900MHz bands will be liable for certain pre-defined coverage obligations, ANCOM said. The regulator expects to raise around EUR700 million through the auction.

Catalin Marinescu, president of ANCOM, commented: ‘The auction is the best way to maximise economic and social benefits for [the] Romanian [people] … The authority has proposed that the tender achieve real value [from] this scarce resource and stimulate competition, investment and innovation in the communications market. The [auction] mechanism was designed to provide perfect conditions for all current players and potential new entrants, with maximum transparency and openness’.

The comparatively low starting bids have gone down well with Romania’s incumbent mobile operators so far, with Valentin Popoviciu, development director for Romania Cable Systems (RCS & RDS) telling Ziarul Financiar: ‘Prices are great from our point of view … ANCOM had to take account of market conditions in Romania’. However, the cut-price fees are also likely to pique the interest of foreign players interested in entering Romania’s admittedly crowded wireless sector. As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate earlier this month, Marius Fecioru, secretary of state for communications, told Romanian website ProTV News that a number of international players have expressed an interest in acquiring cellular frequencies from ANCOM, including US-based AT&T Inc, China Mobile and Norwegian giant Telenor.