Irish telecoms regulator ComReg has announced the results of its multi-band spectrum auction. The auction awarded spectrum rights in the former GSM-only bands (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) and in the 800 MHz band (the so-called ‘Digital Dividend’) which became available on 24 October last following the switch-off of analogue broadcasting.
The winning bidders will pay approximately €854.64 million for these spectrum rights, comprising of €481.7 million in upfront fees (adjusted as necessary by transitional arrangements), along with annual spectrum usage fees totalling €372.95 million which will be adjusted for inflation and paid in instalments until July 2030.
The four successful bidders were Hutchinson 3G Ireland, Meteor Mobile Communications, Telefonica O2 Ireland and Vodafone Ireland. The allocation more than doubles Three’s current spectrum holding. Three increased its holding by 25MHz, Vodafone by 20MHz , Telefonica O2 and Meteor by 10MHz.
The auction sees the release of 140MHz of paired spectrum, more than doubling the 64.8 MHz of paired spectrum currently assigned in these bands. Winning bidders have the opportunity to now develop and launch advanced mobile services in Ireland. This will usher in a new era of advanced wireless services including fast, high capacity mobile broadband.
Three recently announced a network infrastructure sharing agreement with Vodafone, which will increase network coverage across Ireland to more than 2,000 sites. Three said this would provide further cost efficiencies that will support the rapid roll-out of new services such as LTE.