HAKOM announces auction for leftover digital dividend

30 Aug 2013

Croatian telecoms regulator HAKOM has announced that the remaining unallocated one-third of the ‘digital dividend’, the 800MHz frequency band relinquished for mobile broadband use via the analogue TV switch-off, will be offered to all interested mobile communications operators at a public auction. A total of 20MHz (two paired blocks of 2×5MHz) in the 790MHz-862MHz range, suitable for 4G LTE mobile services, will be offered in the sealed-envelope auction, to be awarded on the basis of highest offered price, with a base price for a single block set at HRK105 million (USD18.44 million). Deadline for submission is 28 October 2013, when the sealed bid will be opened, and HAKOM will issue a decision on licence awards by the end of November. The government’s budget this year envisaged proceeds of at least HRK226 million from selling both remaining blocks, including annual fees for the use of radio frequencies of HRK8 million per block, while the aim of the 4G licensing plan is to expand availability of broadband, especially in rural areas, which the 800MHz band is particularly suited to. At the end of 2012 two frequency blocks of 2×10MHz each in the 800MHz band were assigned to Croatian cellcos VIPnet and T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT), but the country’s third cellular network operator Tele2 Croatia did not place a bid for the remaining spectrum.