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Italy LTE spectrum auction exceeds expectations

The initial proposal was met with strong opposition

The Italian government has confirmed that the country’s LTE spectrum auction has closed with bids from the four local operators reaching in excess of €3.9bn, double the reserve price placed on the frequencies. The bidding process lasted just 22 days and saw bids from the main carriers: Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Vodafone Italy, Wind Comunicazioni (Wind Italy) and 3 Italia (H3G Italia).

Spectrum in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands was up for auction, which will become available for use in 2013, 2011, and 2012.

Vodafone Italy bid successfully for a total of 60MHz of spectrum, acquiring 20MHz in the 800MHz band, and blocks in the 1800MHz and 2.6MHz bands.

Telecom Italia bought two blocks of 800MHz spectrum, and two blocks of 2.6Hz and 1800MHz spectrum for a total of €142m. Wind acquired two blocks of 800MHz for €977m, and bought four lots of FDD spectrum for €142.

3 Italia was expected to bid for the premium 800MHz band but declined to do so, instead purchasing licences in the other two bands for a total of €305m.

Industry Minister Paolo Romani said in a statement that, “It is an amazing achievement, which places Italy in a more advanced position than most of Europe. In a difficult market situation, we managed to attract a large amount of investment. The total proceeds go beyond expectations”.

The Italian government had hoped to collect €2.4bn through the tender process, a figure dwarfed by the final amount. It can also look forward to additional funds, with a deadline of 4 October on bids for the remaining TDD block in the 2GHz band.

The LTE North America 2011 conference takes place on the 8-9 November 2011 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, USA.


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