Slovenia invites bids for 1800MHz, 2100MHz licences; settles 900MHz renewal

18 Mar 2013

Slovenia’s Agency for Post and Electronic Communications (APEK) has issued an open call for bidders for the assignment of additional mobile frequencies in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, under a process it expects to complete on 1 June 2013. A deadline for submission of applications is set for 15 April. On offer are eight 2×5MHz sub-bands in the 1800MHz range (1710MHz-1720MHz and 1755MHz-1785MHz paired with 1805MHz-1815MHz and 1850MHz-1880MHz) with validity up to 3 January 2016; plus two 2×5MHz sub-bands in the 2100MHz band valid for the period ended 21 September 2021 (1955MHz-1965MHz paired with 2145MHz-2155MHz). Licence winners must offer services in the specific bands covering at least 30% of the population within one year of the licence award, with the frequencies expected to bolster capacity and coverage of mobile broadband networks including 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Written questions must be received by APEK no later than 5 April 2013, and the agency will publish questions and answers on its website (www.apek.si) by 8 April 2013 (also the deadline for APEK amending or supplementing the details of the public tender). A tenderer must enclose a bank guarantee for their bid in the amount of EUR200,000 (USD261,500). Public opening of bids received is scheduled for 17 April 2013, and APEK expects to award 1800MHz/2100MHz licences on 1 June 2013.

APEK has also made a decision on renewing 900MHz mobile operating licences in Slovenia, and published its calculation of the minimum fee required to renew existing frequency concessions. The regulator noted that it has corrected an error in its previous calculations related to the cost of renewing 900MHz concessions of Telekom Slovenije and Si.Mobil (each issued 2×12.5MHz in 1998 under 15-year licences), while it added that the current value of the 900MHz spectrum is estimated at roughly 10% higher than it was in 1998 (following ‘standard European practices’) for reasons including the fact that the band today is technology-neutral and allows the provision of more advanced services with higher transmission capacities, e.g. 3G UMTS and 4G LTE, compared to the original licensing conditions allowing 2G GSM services only. Benchmarking was carried out using other European countries (including Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, Sweden and France) as comparisons. APEK calculated an average value across EU countries for 900MHz band spectrum at EUR0.4597 per MHz per capita, divided the value by 180 months (representing a 15-year duration) and multiplied the result by the population of the Republic of Slovenia (according to the latest figure of the country’s Statistical Office, 2,058,123 inhabitants), obtaining the final cost value of EUR5,256 per 1MHz per month. The watchdog also proposed that total fees are paid by cellcos in a single instalment.