MTel, Vodafone, Telenor, Digi win Hungarian 4G frequencies

30 Sep 2014

The National Media and Infocommunications Authority of Hungary (NMHH) has announced its sale of mobile broadband frequencies to four operators following a successful tender on Monday 29 September. The companies will pay a total of HUF130.6 billion (USD530.25 million) for the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequencies. The 800MHz (‘digital dividend’) and 2600MHz bands were previously unavailable for mobile services in Hungary.

Deutsche Telekom’s Hungarian unit Magyar Telekom (MTel, including its T-Mobile cellular division) will pay HUF58.65 billion for spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands, while the Hungarian subsidiaries of Norway’s Telenor and Britain’s Vodafone now owe HUF31.73 billion and HUF30.23 billion respectively, with both buying frequencies in the 800MHz/900MHz/2600MHz bands. Romanian-owned broadband and pay-TV operator DIGI Telecommunications, a new entrant to the Hungarian mobile market, is to pay HUF10.0 billion for an 1800MHz band LTE-suitable network operating licence. The frequencies are valid for 20 years until 2034, with the NMHH saying the fees are to be paid to the Hungarian State Treasury by 9 October 2014.

The NMHH stated that it expects the three incumbent mobile network operators to activate their new frequencies on their networks very quickly – in as little as ‘a few days’ – whereas the watchdog said that new entrant DIGI, part of the RCS&RDS group, will need ‘about one and a half years’ to build out its 4G mobile network.