Hutch withdraws Austrian auction appeal

29 Jul 2014

Hutchison Whampoa’s Austrian unit, Hutchison Drei Austria (formerly H3G), has confirmed that it has decided not to appeal against the results of last year’s multi-band spectrum auction, even though it maintains that the auction was ‘illegal in form and content’. In an emailed statement, the cellco’s CEO Jan Trionow noted that the decision to withdraw the appeal was based on the fact that ‘circumstances have changed in the meantime’.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in September/October 2013 Hutchison paid EUR330 million (USD443.3 million) for 2×5MHz of 900MHz spectrum and 2×20MHz of 1800MHz frequencies in the government’s controversial ‘combinatory clock’ auction. As the dust settled, Trionow described the auction as a ‘disaster for the industry’ because the high pricing is likely to see rural rollouts abandoned, but noted: ‘Compared to competitors, we managed to minimise the financial damage to the company’.