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India announces 2G auction details, Pakistan to delay 3G auction

The TRAI has released a new consultation paper ahead of the country's 2G reauction

The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released fresh guidelines ahead of the country’s 2G (re)auction, after the Supreme Court of India cancelled the 122 licences that were awarded in 2008.

The consultation paper follows draft guidelines that were issued last month, and aims to simplify licensing rules, encourage mergers and acquisition and provide greater transparency in the spectrum allocation process.

“The key issues raised in the consultation paper are quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, liberalisation of the spectrum, refarming of spectrum in 800/900MHz bands, structure of auction, spectrum block size, eligibility criteria for participating in the auction, reserve price, roll out obligations, spectrum usage charges and spectrum trading,” said Rajeev Agrawal, secretary at TRAI.

He added that the body is inviting comments on the issues raised in the paper from the stakeholders by March 21, 2012.

Meanwhile, across the border, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has delayed its 3G spectrum auction, which was due to be held on March 29, 2012,  due to “great interest shown by operators through their representatives in World Mobile Congress”.

The PTA said that the delaye will allow operators more time and room to plan.

“The current schedule of Mobile Cellular Auction is under review. Fresh dates will be posted in due course of time,” the body said on its website.

According to the initial plans, the 3G licenses will be valid for 8 to 15 years, with a mandatory $ 31.5m deposit for bidders. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Indian Spectrum Auction Ends the Week at $9.1 Billion

India’s radio spectrum auction ended the 40th round and its 6th day with bidding topping Rs 56,555 crore (US$ 9.1 billion), with Delhi retaining the main focus from the big bidders. Click here for more.


Portugal Telecom, Sonaecom and Vodafone win in Portugal’s 4G auction


Portugal’s LTE spectrum auction has concluded

Portugal Telecom, Sonaecom and Vodafone Portugal have each won spectrum in Portugal’s LTE spectrum auction.

Portugal Telecom and Sonaecom’s mobile phone units, TMN and Optimus respectively, both announced that they had placed winning bids in three frequency bands. They each paid a total of €113m for nine blocks; the minimum price set by the Portuguese telecommunications regulator, Anacom.

The operators said that they plan to use the acquired spectrum to provide mobile communications services based on 4G-LTE technology. TMN has been trialling LTE since April 2011, and is already doing live tests in Cascais and Braga.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Portugal announced that it has also won a total of 123MHz (2x49MHz FDD 25MHz TDD) spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands. It will pay a total of €146m for the spectrum.

The operator plans to use this spectrum to provide mobile communications services based on 4G/LTE technology, and added that “the spectrum in the 900MHz band will further improve the coverage and quality of service, using 3G/HSPA technology, esp­ecially inside buildings.”

The LTE mobile telephony auction was launched on 28 November and the Portuguese government said earlier this year that it needed to raise €200 million through the sale of 4G licenses in 2011, as its government budget for the year already includes planned revenue from the sale of 4G licenses. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Vodafone and Bharti Airtel Apply for Indian Spectrum Auction

Vodafone and Bharti Airtel have both applied to take part in India’s forthcoming radio spectrum auction, sparking the applications race to beat the recently extended deadline. Click here for more.


Etisalat Declines to Participate in Indian GSM License Auction

UAE based Etisalat has said that it wont be participating in the forthcoming Indian GSM license auction, having been burnt badly in the 2008 license scandal. Click here for more.


Swedish Regulators Outline Radio Spectrum Auction Plans

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) has outlined its plans for radio spectrum auctions over the next few years. Click here for more.


T-Mobile to Challenge Outcome of Austrian Radio Spectrum Auction

T-Mobile Austria expects to seek the annulment of the recently concluded radio spectrum auction on the grounds that the way it was carried out has left phone companies with excessive fees for the spectrum they won. Click here for more.


Austrian spectrum auction comes under fire

auction11Industry experts have attacked the recent Austrian LTE spectrum auction process, arguing that the outcome took too much money out of the market and threatens competition in the Austrian mobile sector. That incumbent Telekom Austria was able to acquire half of all the spectrum made available could be particularly detrimental.

TA announced Monday that it had won four blocks of 800MHz spectrum, three blocks at 900MHz and seven at 1800MHz, giving it a 2 x 140MHz allocation in total for a price of €1.03bn. But second placed T-Mobile took only 2 x 45MHz and 3 Austria just 2 x 25MHz. The auction raised more than €2bn overall, a good deal more than the Austrian government had set as an acceptable minimum—€526m.

Bengt Norström of Swedish consultancy Northstream said the result was an illustration of “the insanity of auctions”, favouring the player with the strongest legacy business and greatest capacity for investment. The Austrian regulator’s original intention to bring in a new player could never have been met, he said, suggesting that the high price might prove a barrier to network investment.

Meanwhile Stefan Zehle, CEO of Coleago Consulting, which specializes in spectrum policy, said that demand for 1800MHz spectrum in Europe means that “governments can hold a gun to operators’ heads and demand almost any price.” Telekom Austria now holds 53.8 per cent of the sub-1GHz spectrum in the market, despite having a market share of less than 40 per cent, he said.

He also suggested that Hutchison’s 3 had been victim to inconsistencies in Austrian spectrum policy. The third placed operator faced constraints on its investment due to having the weakest cashflow, he said.

“The design of the Austrian auction and the absence of effective caps on sub 1GHz spectrum holdings suggest that the Austrian government is not particularly concerned about the effects of spectrum concentration on competition. On the other hand, the spectrum divesture conditions imposed on Hutchison to clear its acquisition of One Austria [Orange], suggests a very different view of spectrum concentration is applied when it comes to approving in-market consolidation.”

Nordström concurred, saying: “It’s important to make sure that the operators are on a level playing field in terms of access to lower and higher bands. Nothing has been done to safeguard the continued existence of competition.”

While Telekom Austria said that it had acquired “unique strategic advantages” as a result of the auction, 3 Austria’s CEO Jan Trionow described it as a “disaster for the industry.”

Telekom Austria wins big in spectrum auction, laments high price

Hannes Ametsreiter called the spectrum price a "bitter pill"

Hannes Ametsreiter called the spectrum price a “bitter pill”

Telekom Austria has acquired half of all spectrum being made available in the market’s latest auction, spending €1.03bn in the process. The firm acquired four blocks of 800MHz spectrum, three blocks at 900MHz and seven blocks of 1800MHz spectrum, giving it a 2 x 140MHz allocation in total.

T-Mobile USA won 2 x 45MHz, while 3 Austria took 2 x 25MHz, Telekom Austria won two thirds of the 800MHz spectrum that was available.

The Austrian regulator, the TKK, had hoped to use some of the 800MHz allocation to attract a new licensee to the market but none was forthcoming.

The management at Telekom Austria was positive about the range and size of the spectrum package, but clearly resented the price that was attached. “The high price we had to pay is a bitter pill to swallow, however, A1 is now best equipped for the future, and more specifically, for the on-going explosion of data volumes,” said chief executive Hannes Ametsreiter

“The bids we made in the auction were clearly in the best interest of our customers, nevertheless, we ended up paying one of the highest prices in Europe, which slightly dampened the joy over this success,” added the mobile operation’s CTO, Marcus Grausam.

Jamaica Cancels 700Mhz Spectrum Auction

Jamaica’s Spectrum Management Authority auction of 700Mhz spectrum has been cancelled after it failed to attract a single bidder, despite high levels of interest initially. Click here for more.