The Norwegian Post & Telecoms Authority (NPT) has confirmed that, in line with its previously announced timetable, it has opened registration for would-be bidders for its auction of spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz bands. Those parties seeking to take part in the sale process have until 15 November to apply, and the auction itself will get underway on 2 December, with result expected to be announced on 10 December.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in August 2013 the NPT launched a consultation on the 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.