Hungary’s controversial new media regulator has got straight down to business with plans to auction 4G spectrum by the year-end, despite objections from carriers.
A spokesman for the newly formed National Media and Telecoms Authority (NMHH) said the auction of spectrum in the 450MHz and 900MHz frequencies would raise 20 billion forints (€70.9 million), at a public hearing to announce the sale yesterday, WSJ.com reports.
The regulator hopes the auction will attract a fourth operator to the market, as it bids to grow mobile broadband coverage.
However, Magyar Telekom and Telenor Hungary used the public meeting to criticize the plan, claiming the time taken to auction the frequencies doesn’t take into account how quickly they will launch 4G services.
The duo appealed to the government to simply divvy out the available frequencies between themselves and Vodafone Hungary, the country’s third player.
Vodafone, meanwhile, picked up on the NMHH’s plan to revise frequency fees in 2011, claiming Hungary’s carriers pay over the odds when compared to the European Union average.
The regulator assured carriers the fees would not rise, WSJ reported.
Hungarian opposition parties said they would seek a judicial review of the legitimacy of the new regulator when it was formed by combining the National Radio and Television Board and National Communications Authority earlier this month.
They are concerned the NMHH has too much power, which could allow it to turn public radio and TV stations into government propaganda machines, local news site Politics.hu reported.