Sweden completed the first stage of an auction of 700MHz spectrum, raising SEK2.8 billion ($310 million), with Telia and a joint venture of Tele2 and Telenor emerging as the winning bidders.

In a statement, the country’s Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) said stage one has now concluded after 46 bidding rounds. Stage two of the process, which will be held today (11 December), will decide Telia’s and joint venture Net4Mobility’s placement in the band.

Hutchison-owned Hi3G Access, which also participated in the auction, failed to win any frequencies. The company had earlier filed a legal appeal against the auction terms.

A total of 40MHz has been assigned, with Telia winning one licence covering 2x10MHz, for a total of SEK1.4 billion. Net4Mobility secured two licences of 2x5MHz priced at SEK720 million each.

PTS had set a reserve price of SEK50 million per 5MHz.

In a joint statement, Tele2 and Telenor confirmed that on the back of securing the spectrum, it signed a complementary agreement for a joint nationwide 5G rollout scheduled to begin in 2019.

The refreshed partnership means its shared mobile network will be expanded by more than 50 per cent, resulting in “thousands of new base stations across Sweden” for its existing 4G network and future 5G plans.

It said it will publish a detailed plan early in 2019. Net4Mobility was formed by the two operators in 2009.

Telia said in its own announcement it will also use the spectrum for 5G and to connect parts of the country that are underserved.

“The frequency that we have acquired is connected to a coverage obligation and we will continue to aim at having Sweden’s by far best quality and coverage. It also gives Telia the possibility to position ourselves with nationwide 5G services,” said Anders Olsson, CEO of Telia Sweden.