Irish majors secure new spectrum

Michael Carroll
16 Nov 2012

A multiband spectrum auction in Ireland has netted a total of €854.6 million ($1.09 billion), driven by the country’s four major cellcos.

The Irish subsidiaries of Hutchison 3G, Telefonica and Vodafone, and the mobile arm of incumbent Eircom have each been successful in bidding for the spectrum in the of 800-MHz, 900-MHz and 1800-MHz bands, regulator ComReg reveals.

A little over half of the total raised - €481.7 million - is to be paid in upfront fees, with the remainder generated in spectrum usage fees. The licenses run until 2030.

ComReg hopes the sale will result in nationwide LTE networks, as evidenced by its decision to increase the amount of paired spectrum available from 64.8-MHz to 140-MHz.

“The assignment of these spectrum rights by ComReg has been one of the most significant pieces of work undertaken by ComReg. It is a vital step that promotes competition and allows the next generation of advanced mobile services to be made available to Irish consumers and businesses from next year,”ComReg chairperson, Alex Chisholm says.

Hutchison 3G will pay the least of all operators in the sale, bidding a total of €105 billion for spectrum in the 900-MHz and 1800-MHz bands. Chief executive, Robert Finnegan, explains the operator did not need to bid in all spectrum bands because it does “not have to support old GSM handsets and legacy technologies.

Herb Hribar, chief executive of Eircom Group, noted the auction was significant because it will allow operators in the country to offer more innovative bundled services. The incumbent acquired spectrum in all three bands, which Hribar says will be used to deliver on an ‘always on’ strategy, and develop bundles linked to the firm’s fiber network.

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