Slovakia 4G auction raises $224 million, produces new entrant

Slovakia’s three existing mobile operators and new entrant Swan have emerged as the winners of new 4G licenses following the conclusion of the country’s multi-band frequency auction.

In a statement published on its website, Slovakia’s telecoms regulator said the auction raised a total of €163.9 million ($224 million) – 15% more than the base price it had set for the various lots on offer.

Slovakia’s three existing mobile operators and new entrant Swan have emerged as the winners of new 4G licenses following the conclusion of the country’s multi-band frequency auction.

In a statement published on its website, Slovakia’s telecoms regulator said the auction raised a total of €163.9 million ($224 million) – 15% more than the base price it had set for the various lots on offer.

Incumbent Slovak Telekom – controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) – paid €60.8 million for 2x10MHz of 800MHz spectrum, 2x40MHz in the 2.6GHz band and a 50MHz block of ‘unpaired’ 2.6GHz spectrum.

Orange (Paris, France) bagged 2x10MHz in the 800MHz band plus 2×4.8MHz of 1800MHz spectrum, paying €56.1 million for its concessions, while Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) took the remaining 2x10MHz licence in the 800MHz band and 2×0.6MHz of 1800MHz airwaves for the fee of €40.3 million.

The 2x15MHz of 1800MHz spectrum that authorities had reserved for a new entrant went to Swan, a subsidiary of DanubiaTel, which uses the network of Telefonica to function as a mobile virtual network operator but also provides fixed wireless access services in Slovakia.

Swan paid just €6.6 million for its 1800MHz licenses.

In a statement about the auction results, Slovak Telekom said it would immediately introduce 4G services in capital city Bratislava and Kosice, in the east of the country, following its frequency wins.

The operator already claims to cover just less than a quarter of Slovakia’s population with an LTE network that uses previously awarded 1800MHz spectrum.

Orange said it had emerged from the auction with the “optimal combination of frequencies in all bands”, despite failing to capture any 2.6GHz spectrum, while Telefonica – which secured less spectrum than either of its incumbent rivals – said the 800MHz licences would allow it to build a “new nationwide network”.

Telefonica has also been relying on existing 1800MHz licenses to provide 4G services in areas surrounding Bratislava.