There were three winners in the first phase of Norway’s multi-band auction, but Tele2, the country’s third-largest mobile operator, was not among them.
Spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1.8GHz frequency bands was allocated to TeliaSonera, Telenor and Telco Data – a little-known new entrant – in the auction’s first phase.
A second round, says Norway’s post and telecoms regulator, is due on 9 December to determine the specific slices of spectrum each operator will use. The price paid will be announced on 10 December.
Tele2 was left licking its wounds after the result.
“We are obviously not satisfied with the outcome of the auction, but we will continue to build on our strong position in Norway,” said Mats Granryd, Tele2’s CEO.
The operator, which currently runs its network on 900MHz and 2.1GHz frequencies, said in a statement that it will “seek the opportunity to obtain available resources in the 1800MHz band”.
After the first auction round, three blocks of 2x5MHz remain unassigned in the 1.8GHz band.
Tele2 adds that it will be able to use its existing frequencies to roll out 4G services.
Bengt Nordstrom, CEO of Northstream, a technology consultancy, said it’s surprising that newcomer Telco Data (which is apparently represented by a law firm) could outbid an incumbent like Tele2.
He adds, however, that Telco Data will have its work cut out. “It’s almost mission impossible to make such a business case fly without cooperation of existing mobile operators,” he told Mobile World Live.
TeliaSonera, the second-largest operator in Norway behind Telenor, scooped up 2x10MHz in the 800MHz band. This block comes with an obligation to provide mobile broadband services with speeds of at least 2Mb/s to 98 per cent of the population within five years.
TeliaSonera also won a 2X10MHz chunk of 1800MHz spectrum, as well as a 2x5MHz slice in the 900MHz band.
Telenor and Telco Data each secured the same amount of spectrum in the 800MHz and 900MHz bands – 2x10MHz and 2x5MHz, respectively.
At 1.8GHz, however, Telco Data bagged 2x20MHz while Telenor got 2x10MHz.
“This is a big day for Telenor and especially our customers,” crowed Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway, after the auction result was announced. “Coverage will improve as of early 2014. We are now ready to improve coverage in every county nationwide – not to mention that indoor coverage will be significantly better.”
The regulator says all winners of 800MHz spectrum must provide a mobile broadband service of at least 2Mb/s to 40 per cent of the population within four years.