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Ireland Raises US$1 Billion from Radio Spectrum Auction

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The Irish telecoms regulator has completed its auction of radio spectrum and raised EUR481.7 million (USD613 million) from the mobile networks, with commitments to pay up to EUR372.95 million (USD474.7 million) by 2030 when the licenses expire.

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 spectrum is being provided in a technology-neutral manner.

This auction saw the release of 140 MHz of paired spectrum, more than doubling the 64.8 MHz of paired spectrum currently assigned in these bands.

Frequency Band License Period Hutchison 3G Meteor Telefonica O2 Vodafone
800Mhz 2013-2015 - 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz
  2015-2030 - 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz
900Mhz 2013-2015 2 x 5Mhz 2 x5 Mhz 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz
  2015-2030 2x  5Mhz 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz
1800Mhz 2013-2015 2 x 10Mhz 2 x 10Mhz - 2 x 15Mhz
  2015-2030 2 x 20Mhz 2 x 15Mhz 2 x 15Mhz 2 x 25Mhz
Upfront Payment EUR51.14m EUR144.78m EUR124.93m EUR160.85m
Total Spectrum Usage EUR53.87m EUR99.64m EUR99.64m EUR99.64m
Total EUR854.64 million

Announcing the results of the auction, ComReg Chairperson, Alex Chisholm said: "The assignment of these spectrum rights by ComReg has been one of the most significant pieces of work undertaken by ComReg. It is a vital step that promotes competition and allows the next generation of advanced mobile services to be made available to Irish consumers and businesses from next year." 

License holders must attain and maintain a minimum coverage of 70% of the population and to attain this coverage obligation within 3 years, while they may use spectrum rights in multiple bands to achieve the coverage targets, at least 50% of the coverage requirement (i.e. 35% of the 
population) must be met using spectrum rights in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz and/or 1800 MHz bands.

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Tags: comreg  radio spectrum  digital dividend  Ireland