Irish government aiming to raise EUR500m from 4G licence auction

2 Apr 2012

The government of the Republic of Ireland reportedly hopes to raise as much as EUR500 million (USD667 million) from the forthcoming auction of radio frequencies suitable for high speed wireless broadband and 4G/LTE mobile services. Without citing its sources, The Sunday Times’ Irish edition claims the national industry regulator – the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) – is planning to hold the tender process before the end of July 2012. It is understood a number of domestic telecoms operators are interested in the frequencies on offer, including Vodafone Ireland, O2 Ireland, 3 Ireland, Eircom (Meteor Mobile), Liberty Global’s UPC unit, Imagine Communications and Digiweb.

As reported by CommsUpdate reported last month, ComReg intends to license 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands covering the period 2013 to 2030, suitable for 4G services. To this end it will conduct a further consultation on the sale process, ahead of the summer auction. The watchdog’s proposed auction of 28 blocks of spectrum (140MHz of paired spectrum in the sub-2GHz band) will be a combined ‘clock auction’ process whereby bidders will be able to submit package bids over multiple rounds, all within a pre-agreed timeframe. The winners will be those submitting the highest bid. The lots on offer are:

• 800MHz band – in the frequency range 791MHz-821MHz paired with 832MHz-862MHz, which comprises six paired 5MHz lots

• 900MHz band – in the frequency range 880MHz-915MHz paired with 925MHz-960 MHz, which comprises seven paired lots of 5MHz; and

• 1800MHz band – in the frequency range 1710MHz-1785MHz paired with 1805MHz-1880MHz, which comprises 15 paired 5MHz blocks.