T-Hrvatski Telekom (Zagreb, Croatia), the Croatian operator controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany), has already applied for a new 4G license just days after the country’s regulator invited bids.
Hakom is to award three blocks of 2x10MHz spectrum in the 800MHz band for use with new 4G services, although no operator will be allowed to own more than one spectrum block.
Bidders will have until October 15 to submit their applications for a 12-year license, making T-Hrvatski look very eager indeed.
Successful bidders will have to pay a one-off license fee of 150 million kuna ($26.4 million), as well as a spectrum usage fee of 800,000 kuna per MHz per year.
On top of that, they must cough up a spectrum management fee of 180,000 kuna per MHz per year and pay 0.5% of the revenues they generate from the use of the band to the government.
In the statement about its application, T-Hrvatski said the additional annual fees had been set at approximately the same level as usage fees for deployed frequencies.
T-Hrvatski already provides LTE services in Croatia using its existing 1800MHz spectrum. It launched services in Zagreb along with three other major cities in March, and says it will extend LTE into rural communities.
The 800MHz spectrum would allow it to roll out services more economically because wireless signals travel further in this frequency band than with 1800MHz airwaves, meaning fewer base stations are needed.
Recognizing its suitability for rural deployments, Hakom will require winners of 800MHz licenses to cover 50% of serviceable regions over the next five years. Operators will be unable to address some areas because of interference from neighboring countries that are still using 800MHz for analog TV, but Hakom has yet to determine exactly where problems could arise.
The major drawback of 800MHz spectrum is that it will not work on the most appealing LTE devices. Manufacturers, including iPhone maker Apple (Cupertino, USA), have tended to focus on bands that are more widely deployed.
Bidders for the new 800MHz licenses are expected to include Vipnet (Zagreb, Croatia), owned by Telekom Austria (Vienna, Austria), which launched an 1800MHz LTE service at the same time as T-Hrvatski, and Tele2 Croatia (Zagreb, Croatia).