Sweden completes new spectrum auction

Sweden has completed the auction of its 800 MHz bandwidth, paving the way for three telecom firms to expand their mobile broadband services.

Following five days of bidding, the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (Post- och telestyrelsen – PTS) announced on Friday it has awarded licences to HI3G Access, Net4Mobility, and TeliaSonera.

The auction of the licences, which are valid until 2035, generated 2 billion kronor ($314 million) in revenue.

The auctioning of the spectrum will allow the winning bidders to extend network coverage at a lower cost data-heavy devices such as smartphones and table computers with 4G capabilities.

“Now the license holders can start using the 800 MHz band for, for example, mobile telephony and wireless broadband, in order to meet the consumer demand for services,” PTS head Göran Marby said in a statement.

TeliaSonera paid 854 million kronor for their blocks, while Tele 2 and Telenor, which together own network company Net4Mobility, spent a total of 769 million. HI3G Access, part of mobile provider Tre (3), paid 431 million kronor for its licence.

“We’re very satisfied with the result of the 800-auction,” said Peder Ramel, head of 3 Scandinavia, in a statement.

“Now we can continue to expand our award-winning mobile broadband network with higher speeds and better coverage.”

TeliaSonera, meanwhile, said winning the licence was an important part of their efforts to bring 4G, the next generation of mobile communications standard, to more of Sweden.

“Our investment in the 800 MHz frequency band is the basis for a continued cost efficient 4G-roll out as well as providing a high quality customer experience,” said Håkan Dahlström, president of TeliaSonera Mobility Services, in a statement.

In December 2009, TeliaSonera became the first operator in the world to launch 4G networks in Stockholm and Oslo.

Currently, the company’s 4G network covers 28 cities and villages in Sweden, but by the end of 2011, TeliaSonera expects its 4G network to cover a total of 237 towns.

PTS’s Marby emphasised the importance of the auction for helping bring broadband to homes in Sweden currently lacking the service.

“It is also gratifying that 300 million kronor during the next few years will be used to cover precisely those households and companies that lack coverage today. This is a part of getting broadband coverage in the whole country,” he said.

Com Hem and Netett Sverige also participated in the auction but failed to win any of the licences.

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