VIPnet, T-HT granted 800MHz leftovers

7 Nov 2013

Croatian regulator HAKOM has decided to grant licences for the use of the remaining digital dividend 800MHz mobile spectrum to the only applicants, T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) and VIPnet, raising immediate licence fee revenue of HRK290 million (USD51.4 million), the watchdog said in a press release. Last year the same two operators bought two blocks of 2×10MHz in the digital dividend band, suitable for 4G LTE services, and with no other bidders coming forward, the pair were subsequently granted two leftover blocks of 2×5MHz. For the first block the highest one-off price offered by VIPnet was HRK110.14 million, and for the second block T-HT bid HRK105.65 million, while VIPnet chose to pay the total HRK65 million in annual licence fees at once; T-HT opted to pay annual fees in equal annual installments until the expiry of the licence.

TeleGeography notes that third mobile operator Tele2 Croatia did not bid for an 800MHz LTE licence in the original auction or the follow-up bidding. The Swedish-owned cellco was quoted in the local press this week as claiming that the digital dividend spectrum was too expensive for its strategy. A Tele2 spokesperson said that, ‘In order to provide customers the best value for money, we invest in technology when customers need it,’ adding that it was ‘too early’ for the company to introduce LTE and that there would be several more opportunities to deploy a 4G network in other frequency bands ‘when the time is right.’