Vodafone, Orange and Telefonica snap up Spanish spectrum

Vodafone Spain, Orange and Telefonica Moviles Espana have paid a total of Euro 1.65 billion for Spain’s 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum licenses. The three companies eclipsed the other eight bidders in the process, winning the entire spectrum allocation between themselves.

The total made through the auction was over the reserve price but still under the Euro 2 billion that the Spanish government had aimed for.

While orange has not yet declared what it has won in the auction, Telefonica Moviles Espana stated it spent a total of Euro 668.3 million on five frequency blocks, with Euro 356 million due to be paid this September, and the remainder in the second quarter of 2012.

The winning bids for Telefonica Moviles Espana were: 2×10 MHz, of national and regional coverage, on 800MHz; 2 x 5 MHz, of national and regional coverage, on 900MHz; and 2 x 20 MHz of national and regional coverage, on 2.6 GHz.

Vodafone Spain bid successfully for a total of: 20 MHz (2×10 MHz) in the 800 MHz band; and 40 MHz (2x20MHz) in the 2.6 GHz band. In total, it spent a total consideration of Euro 518 million (£454 million).

Vodafone Spain has been awarded a total of 60 MHz (2×30 MHz) of new spectrum in the Spanish government’s auction, enabling the company to provide its customers with enhanced mobile internet services across the country, including in rural areas.

The spectrum award will support Vodafone Spain’s plans to develop the next generation of wireless data services, on LTE. In developing LTE services, Vodafone Spain will draw on the experience of Vodafone Germany, which launched LTE towards the end of 2010.

The 800 MHz ‘digital dividend’ spectrum will become available in 2014 after the switchover from analogue to all-digital TV broadcasting in Spain. The 2.6 GHz spectrum band is immediately available for use.

Additionally, Vodafone Spain will begin to offer 3G mobile internet access to customers in rural areas by the end of 2011 after receiving approval from the Spanish government to re-farm spectrum in the 900 MHz frequency band currently used for 2G services. The company has already begun to deploy versatile single Radio Access Network (RAN) base stations designed to handle 2G, 3G and LTE technologies on a common shared platform.

The additional spectrum and ongoing network investments will enable Vodafone Spain to build on its success in delivering the mobile internet to its customers. Over the last financial year, Vodafone Spain saw strong growth in the uptake of smartphones and mobile internet services, helping to boost data revenue growth (excluding content revenue) by around 22%.

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