Intel emerged as one of the surprise winners in a Swedish 2.6GHz spectrum auction concluded this week, prompting speculation that the company could be planning to build a WiMAX network in the country. Intel paid US$26 million for a 15-year license for Time Division Duplex (unpaired) spectrum suitable for WiMAX. Intel was tight-lipped over its plans for the spectrum but an executive hinted to a local Swedish newspaper that the company will most likely lease the spectrum to a third-party rather than build and operate the network itself. It is the company’s second major investment in WiMAX this week, following its high-profile US$1 billion contribution to the new Sprint/Clearwire venture.
Sweden’s Post and Telecom Agency, the local regulator, said in a statement it had raised US$348 million from the auction. Alongside Intel, the other winners were Swedish operators TeliaSonera, Tele2 and HI3G Access, and Norway’s Telenor. All four of these licenses concern Frequency Division Duplex (paired) spectrum, suggesting the airwaves will be used for technologies such as LTE. Intel reportedly paid the least for its license, even though it won the largest amount of spectrum.