Austria nets €39.5m in 2.6GHz auction

Austria’s four incumbent mobile operators were the winners in an auction of mobile broadband spectrum that raised a total of €39.5 million.
Telekom, Hutchison, T-Mobile and Orange all competed in the auction of paired and unpaired spectrum in the 2.6GHz frequency, which regulator RTR hopes will boost rollout of LTE services in the country.
Telekom Austria and Hutchison acquired two blocks of paired 20MHz frequency and a single block of unpaired 25MHz apiece, T-Mobile two 20MHz paired slots, and Orange two 10MHz paired blocks.
Graham Friend, managing director of consultancy Coleago, told Telecoms the sale price of the paired spectrum is in-line with sums paid in Germany’s auction, but is four-times lower than the amounts raised in Denmark.
Friend blamed strict auction rules set by regulator RTR for the lower price. The regulator set a minimum bid price of €7.4 million, and required operators to guarantee a 1Mb download speed to 25% of the population by December 2013.
“This represents an onerous requirement for operators as it will require them to deploy LTE sooner than perhaps they might have preferred,” he noted.
However, Telekom Austria is reveling in the requirement, with CEO Hannes Ametsreiter pointing out the firm has already conducted extensive LTE testing and pledging to launch a commercial service by the year-end.
“Our base stations meet all technical prerequisites for the start, thus we will be the first mobile provider to start LTE in Austria,” he said.