Germany has started auctioning a new mobile spectrum and all four of the country’s main operators — T-Mobile, Vodafone, KPN (E-Plus) and Telefonica’s O2 — are expected to compete for new bandwidth suitable for LTE. The auction is the first of its kind in Europe and will likely set a benchmark for similar auctions throughout the continent. “Many European countries will follow our auction closely,” said Matthias Kurth, president of Bundesnetzagentur, the German telecoms regulator.
Kurth declined to comment on potential monetary gains for the country or how long the auction will last. One thing is clear, though – what is essentially seen as the 4G spectrum auction will definitely bring less money than the 3G auctions ten years ago — which brought around 50 billion EUR. Likewise, this time the minimum bids are set at 1.5 million EUR (for a 5 MHz block), which is way down from 25.57 million EUR in the 3G auctions. It’s worth adding that there is also more spectrum available — 360MHz compared to 145MHz.
The spectrum on auction is available in four different bands: 800MHz, 1.8GHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz, with the first and last deemed most suitable for LTE. The rest of the spectrum will most likely be used for expanding existing 2G and 3G networks.