The Norwegian Post & Telecoms Authority (NPT) has revealed the minimum bid levels for digital dividend spectrum in the 800MHz band, as well as for 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum that will be made available, as it continues to consult on rules for the auction of such frequencies. With the regulator confirming that the initial bid price for a 2×5MHz block of spectrum in the 800MHz band will be NOK50 million (USD8.95 million), it also said that the 2×10MHz block in that same band which includes coverage obligations will cost at least NOK40 million. Meanwhile, 2×5MHz allocations in the 900MHz band and 1800MHz bands will begin at NOK50 million and NOK5 million, respectively. In announcing its decision regarding pricing the NPT noted that, while the consultation on the auction rules is still ongoing, the minimum price levels are not subject to discussion.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month the NPT launched its consultation on the forthcoming sale process, as part of which it said it would seek feedback on the proposed terms and conditions of draft licences, with a deadline for responses set as 30 September 2013. Reiterating a March 2013 press release in which the Ministry of Transport & Communications (MoTC) called for 100% of Norwegian households to have access to a basic broadband service within the next couple of years, the NPT claimed that spectrum in the 800MHz band was ‘key to fulfilling this objective as spectrum in this frequency band has superior coverage reach and is therefore ideal for coverage in rural areas’. As a result of this, the watchdog confirmed that one of the 800MHz concessions will include a coverage obligation; the winner of the licence will be required to offer a service with a minimum average access speed of 2Mbps within five years of its award. Prior to the launch of the consultation, in March 2013 the MoTC said that, with an eye on ensuring competition in the sector, a cap of 2×10MHz would be implemented for the sale of 800MHz frequencies, although this will only apply to those operators which already have significant mobile spectrum holdings. With frequencies in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands to be auctioned simultaneously with the 800MHz spectrum, a cap of 2×20MHz will apply to the 1800MHz block, while in the 900MHz band there will be a cap of 2×15MHz.