Norway kicks off 1800 MHz spectrum auction

Norway started an auction of 1800 MHz frequencies on Wednesday, resuming a process that was postponed because of TeliaSonera's bid to acquire Tele2 Norway.

The auction of three available blocks in the 1800 MHz band was originally scheduled for January 2015, but the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority (Nkom) delayed the process for an indefinite period until the acquisition of Tele2 Norway had been approved in order to ascertain what market changes the merger might bring.

That deal was eventually approved in February this year by the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA), although approval was subject to concessions, including the conclusion of a roaming agreement with new entrant Ice Communication Norge and the sale of Tele2's mobile network and Network Norway to Ice. Network Norway was part of Tele2 and had about 90,000 business subscriptions.

Since then, Ice has relaunched Network Norway under the brand and has also started to sell mobile communications services to residential customers.

It's not entirely clear which operators are participating in the latest 1800 MHz auction. Nkom is selling off the blocks that were not allocated in the 4G multi-band auction in December 2013. The deadline for submissions was Nov. 16.

Nkom has noted that it would not disclose any information on the auction while it is in progress, but would publish results when the auction closes. It added that there were several possible outcomes to the auction, with a single player potentially obtaining all three blocks.

During the 4G auction in 2013, TeliaSonera, Telenor and newcomer Telco Data -- the company now known as Ice -- all won blocks in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands. However, the local unit of Tele2 failed to get its hands on any new spectrum resources and was forced to the conclusion that it would be unable to compete effectively in the data-driven Norwegian market. This ultimately led to the sale of Tele2 Norway to TeliaSonera.

For more:
- see the Nkom auction site

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