Italian LTE auction attracts €2.3B in opening bids

The first round of bids in the Italian LTE spectrum auction attracted offers amounting to €2.3 billion, according to the Italian Industry Ministry.

The country's four main operators--TIM, Vodafone, Wind and 3--submitted preliminary tenders for some of the frequencies on offer in the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands. The WiMAX operator Linkem, which currently offers wireless broadband coverage in around 200 Italian towns and cities, has failed to submit a bid after initially registering a formal interest.

Meanwhile, the Italian government said that all four operators have each made provisional bids of around €353 million for spectrum in the 1800MHz band, while TIM was the only bidder for frequencies in the 1800MHz band, with an offer of €155.9 million. Vodafone has declined to be involved in the bidding for the 2.6GHz frequencies, which attracted bids of between €30.7 million and €36.7 million from other parties. The 2GHz band has failed to catch the attention of any operator for now.

The auction is scheduled to continue with interested bidders expected to increase their offers by at least 3 per cent. Operators yet to participate in bidding for a particular frequency band can enter the auction process at any stage, the government said.

This level of early interest will have boosted the Italian government's hopes, given that it had earlier said that it was looking to raise at least €2.4 billion in the tender process.

For more:
- see this Telegeography article
- see this Dow Jones Newswire article

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