Reuters said that some sources believe Spain’s third and fourth biggest operators (Orange Spain and Yoigo, respectively) will be the only potential participants in a spectrum auction set to be completed early next month, with the potential issue of frequencies suitable for LTE in the near future likely to have muted some enthusiasm. The current issue is for 900MHz and 1800MHz allocations, and market leaders Telefonica Espana and Vodafone Spain have been barred from participating – the intention is to achieve a more even balance of spectrum among the smaller competitors. It was also suggested that potential new entrants such as cable television companies may find the spectrum appealing, in order to provide bundled services to their customers.
According to Reuters, analysts believe that Yoigo, a subsidiary of TeliaSonera, stands to benefit from the process, by gaining lower frequency spectrum to improve its coverage while decreasing its need to roam on to competitor networks. In addition to the expected EUR168 million that will be raised from the spectrum sale, operators will have to pledge to invest a similar amount in the country in the period to 2013. On the horizon is a much larger sale of 800MHz, 900MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum, which will be suitable for the rollout of LTE, and which could see up to EUR2 billion pledged. While Spain’s mobile operators have generally performed poorly in recent months, due to continued economic weakness in the market, mobile broadband has been identified as a growth driver.