Swedish 2.6GHz auction prices will act as guide to others

The outcome of the second 2.6GHz auction in Europe is being seen as potentially setting the guidelines for other spectrum auctions planned for the U.K., Austria and the Netherlands.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) handed out 15-year licences to five operators--Tele2, Telenor, TeliaSonera, HI3G Access and Intel Capital, at a 16-day auction that raised nearly US$350 million. While this amount is below the U.K. and Germany UMTS auctions in 2000, analysts believe that the prices achieved in the Swedish auction were considerably higher than the recent Norwegian 2.6GHz auction (Euro.03/MHz/pop).

"Interestingly, the Swedish auction may be a more reliable indicator of prices in other upcoming European auctions than the Norwegian auction," said Bart-Jan Sweers, a strategy consultant at Analysys Mason. "The reason for this is that the competitive situation in Sweden, with four mobile players, is more representative of the situation in most European countries than the Norwegian two-player market." All Swedish auction winners, except Intel Capital, bought licences for frequencies designed to work with LTE.

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