Mobile auction launches today

31 Oct 2012

The Netherlands’ spectrum regulator Agentschap Telecom (AT) has set today (31 October) as the launch date for its much-anticipated auction of mobile spectrum for advanced wireless services. The auction, which is being conducted behind closed doors, will be contested by five bidding groups which are looking to secure spectrum in five bands on offer. Telecompaper writes that all lots up for grabs (with the exception of Lot F) comprise 2×5MHz (paired) and 1×5MHz (unpaired) spectrum and cover parts of the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz band. The 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands are not currently in use.

Under the AT’s plan, two of the six blocks of spectrum on offer in the 1800MHz band will be ring-fenced for new market entrants. A further 2×5MHz of frequencies were reserved for a newcomer in the 900MHz band, but as no firm expressed an interest in them, the lot was added to Lot C licences. The 900MHz/1800MHz spectrum comes from the existing frequencies of the incumbents – KPN Mobile, Vodafone Netherlands and T-Mobile Netherlands – and the two Lot E licences are drawn from UMTS spectrum formerly held by Telfort, which has been handed back by its owner KPN. These allocations will be valid until 2017, like other UMTS frequencies, AT said.

In addition, the spectrum agency is looking to sell off lots F, G and H, which are lots of unpaired frequencies left over from the 2010 tender of 2.6GHz blocks. Lot F includes two bands (1900MHz and 2000MHz), while Lot H will be awarded ‘free’ to the winner of Lot G licences. These concessions will become effective on 1 January 2013 and are valid until 2030.

Reserve prices for the lots vary considerably, from EUR585,000 to EUR35 million (USD756,800 to USD45.3 million). The names of the five firms involved have not been disclosed but are likely to include the incumbents and possibly the likes of Ziggo and UPC. The full list of spectrum allocations is as follows:

Licence Lot A1 – two licences auctioned, 800MHz band, 20MHz on offer, EUR35 million (reserve)

Licence Lot B – four licences auctioned, 800MHz band, 40MHz on offer, EUR35 million (reserve)

Licence Lot C – seven licences auctioned, 900MHz band, 70MHz on offer, EUR28.9 million (reserve)

Licence Lot D – 14 licences auctioned, 1800MHz band, 140MHz on offer, EUR4.125 million (reserve)

Licence Lot E – two licences auctioned, 2100MHz band, 20MHz on offer, EUR810,000 (reserve)

Licence Lot F – two licences auctioned, 1900MHz band, 14.8MHz on offer, 590,000 (reserve)

Licence Lot G – ten licences auctioned, 2600MHz band, 50MHz on offer, EUR585,000 (reserve)

Licence Lot H – one licence auctioned, 2600MHz band, 5MHz on offer, no reserve.