Govt sets prices for GSM licence extensions in the Netherlands

4 Jan 2013

The Dutch government has announced the confirmed prices for extending 2G GSM mobile operating licences in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands in the country, Telecompaper reports. KPN Mobile The Netherlands, Vodafone Netherlands and T-Mobile Netherlands will each pay almost EUR4 million (USD5.3 million) per 100kHz for the 900MHz licences, while the 1800MHz concessions will cost EUR930,000 per 100kHz.

The announcement follows the recent successful conclusion of multi-band spectrum frequency licences for 4G services in the Netherlands, which raised EUR3.8 billion for government coffers, significantly more than the EUR480 million estimate. KPN’s mobile arm along with the other two incumbents – Vodafone and T-Mobile – each won 4G spectrum, as did new market entrant Tele2 of Sweden. Domestic cable operators Ziggo and UPC, which both have a strong presence in the broadband market had planned to bid jointly, but pulled out when the bidding price went too high.

The total prices for the operators’ 2G/GSM spectrum extensions are based on the results of the multi-band auction, the capacity of the spectrum and the duration of the licence extension. For example, 12.4MHz in the 900MHz band for KPN Mobile will cost almost EUR28 million for a six-month extension, the paper suggests. The extensions are needed however, to help the cellcos make a smooth transition in the period when their current permits expire (late-February), and when they are able to fully launch services using the recently auctioned frequencies. The exact details of the transition period are still under discussion, and although the extensions apply in principle to the entire band, operators can relinquish certain frequencies earlier, savings on 2G costs as they transition to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) platforms.