Sweden’s telecoms regulator announced the result of the country’s 800MHz spectrum auction, with licences awarded to 3 Sweden (Hi3G Access), TeliaSonera, and Net4Mobility (a joint venture of Tele2 and Telenor). The auction raised SEK2.05 billion (EUR233 million) in total, which includes an SEK300 million commitment by Net4Mobility which will be used “to cover those permanent homes and fixed places of business that lack broadband” – this was one of the conditions for the frequencies it was allocated. With regard to spectrum, TeliaSonera was the highest bidder, paying SEK854 million, followed by Net4 Mobility (SEK469 million) and Hi3G (SEK431 million). The licences are valid until 2035. Two participants in the process were not awarded spectrum: Com Hem and Netett Sverige. “Spectrum in the 800MHz band, sometimes referred to as the Digital Dividend, is attractive to mobile operators due to its superior propagation characteristics which makes it ideally suited for providing 4G services such as LTE in rural areas and greater in-building coverage in urban areas,” noted Graham Friend of Coleago Consulting. Friend added that the auction “provides Europe with a new and lower benchmark for this key spectrum band.”
TeliaSonera said that it will use the spectrum for the “further expansion of the first and most extensive 4G network in Sweden,” stating its existing 2.6GHz LTE network already covers 28 cities and villages – and that this will be increased to 237 by the end of 2011. 3 Sweden said that it will use the spectrum alongside its 900MHz allocation to support its 4G deployment and deliver “greatly improved” 3G coverage – it highlighted its strength in the lower frequency bands, which it says will “deliver superior coverage indoors and in sparsely populated areas.” It is planning to launch LTE services in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo during the Spring, before rolling it out more widely. This company also holds a 2.6GHz allocation. Net4Mobility has also already launched LTE services using 2.6GHz spectrum.