Spectrum auction generates EUR682m; 85% of available spectrum sold

25 Sep 2012

Romania’s National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) has announced that its recently concluded spectrum auction generated EUR682.14 million (USD882.29 million), with the five participating bidders securing 85% of the spectrum on offer. The amount of spectrum available for mobile communications, ANCOM said, has increased by 77% as a result of the tender. The successful bidders are as follows:

• Cosmote Romania won one spectrum block in the 800MHz band, two blocks in the 900MHz band, five blocks in the 1800MHz band and two blocks in the 2600MHz band, all of which are valid between 2014 and 2029, paying a total of EUR179.88 million for the concessions;

• Orange Romania obtained two frequency blocks in the 800MHz band, two blocks in the 900MHz band, four blocks in the 1800MHz band and four blocks in the 2600MHz band, all of which are valid between 2014 and 2029. Further, Orange also acquired a number of short-term licences in the 900MHz band (five blocks), 1800MHz band (three blocks), which are valid between 1 January 2013 and 5 April 2014, bringing it in line with certain rivals. Total monies committed by Orange stood at EUR227.14 million;

• Vodafone Romania obtained two spectrum blocks in the 800MHz band, two blocks in the 900MHz band, six blocks in the 1800MHz band and one 15MHz block in the 2600MHz band, all of which are valid between 2014 and 2029. In addition, the cellco won short-term concessions in the 900MHz band (five blocks) and 1800MHz band (three blocks), which are valid between 1 January 2013 and 5 April 2014. Vodafone will pay EUR228.52 million for its spectrum rights;

• Corporate WiMAX operator 2K Telecom won two 15MHz blocks in the 2600MHz band, covering the period between 2014 and 2029, for which it will pay EUR6.60 million, while Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS) acquired one block in the 900MHz band, valid from 2014 until 2029; RCS&RDS will pay EUR40 million for the concession.

Payment deadlines have been set at 30 November 2012 or 30 June 2013, depending on the frequencies in question.

Catalin Marinescu, president of ANCOM, commented: ‘With this auction, mobile communications in Romania have entered a new era. The spectrum resources available to the operators have grown by 77% and allow for the introduction of 4G technology, whereas the 900MHz band is more efficiently distributed … I would say that, on our tenth celebration since the establishment of ANCOM, we have successfully concluded the first auction which allows 4G in central and eastern Europe’. Marinescu also noted that of the winning bidders, Cosmote, RCS&RDS and 2K Telecom have all undertaken the obligation to host mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Further, following the distribution of this spectrum, 676 rural localities currently underserved by mobile broadband networks are expected to benefit from priority deployments.