Tele2 and Bite claim success in 700MHz auction ahead of final approval of results

20 Dec 2021

Latvian telecoms watchdog the Public Utilities Commission (Sabiedrisko Pakalpojumu Regulesanas Komisija, SPRK) completed its auction of spectrum in the 700MHz band on Friday, but the results have yet to be confirmed by the SPRK Council. In a statement issued by the regulator, the SPRK noted that before the results of the auction are published, the council must first ensure that all of the winning bidders complied with regulations. Once this process is completed, the SPRK will issue a decision approving the auction results. The regulator expects to reach a decision on the matter by 27 December. The tender comprised the three licences for 2×10MHz in the 700MHz range with a starting price of EUR2.2 million (USD2.5 million) and a duration of 20 years (February 2022 to January 2042) and two 1×10MHz blocks with a slightly shorter duration (February 2025 to January 2042) and a base cost of EUR150,000.

Despite the lack of confirmation regarding the results of the tender, Latvian cellcos Tele2 and Bite have each published statements claiming that they have purchased spectrum in the 700MHz band. For its part, Tele2 announced that it had purchased the rights to spectrum at 703MHz-713MHz/758MHz-768MHz. Petras Masiulis, CEO for Tele2 Baltic, was quoted as saying of the purchase: ‘By acquiring these important rights to use the spectrum, we will start to expand our 5G network in Latvia much more actively. This will increase the speed of mobile internet and improve coverage, while reducing latency in the future for equipment used by both private and business customers.’ Bite, meanwhile, revealed that it had purchased the licence for the 723MHz-733MHz/778MHz-788MHz airwaves. Bite plans to invest EUR70 million over the next three years to build out ‘several hundred’ new 5G base stations throughout Riga and other major cities.