Croatian incumbent Hrvatski Telekom has filed an application to participate in an auction of 800MHz airwaves that regulatory authorities failed to sell a year ago.
The operator – controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (Bonn) – was one of two companies to win a 2x10MHz block of 800MHz spectrum during an auction in October 2012, paying €20 million ($27.6 million) for its license.
Rival operator Vipnet, the other license winner, also paid €20 million for its concession, but the remaining 2x10MHz block remained unsold at the auction’s conclusion.
In August, Hakom, the Croatian telecoms regulator, announced plans to auction the spectrum in two 2x5MHz blocks, raising the possibility that Hrvatski Telekom (Zagreb, Croatia) and Vipnet (Zagreb, Croatia) capture the remaining frequencies and prevent a third 800MHz operator from emerging.
However, the process could also attract interest from Tele2 (Zagreb, Croatia), the country’s smallest player, which owns 2G and 3G spectrum but did not emerge as an 800MHz buyer in October 2012.
European operators have typically prized the 800MHz band because of its ability to cover wide areas and provide good in-building coverage compared with higher frequency spectrum.
As a consequence, the airwaves are generally seen as a more economical option for the launch of 4G services in less densely populated regions.
Hakom aims to reach a decision on the allocation of frequencies by November 26.