Swiss regulator sets date for LTE auction

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Regulator sets Summer 2011 date for ‘4G’ Long Term Evolution bandwidth auction, with operators Orange, Sunrise, Swisscom and In&Phone to bidSwitzerland’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom), is to auction spectrum for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) usage by summer 2011.

The timing of the auction coincides with the expiry of the country’s GSM and 3G licences on December 31 2013 and 2016 respectively. New bandwidth will be made available, notably in the 800Mhz band, which can be used for LTE.  All spectrum will be tendered until the end of 2028.

Operators Orange, Sunrise, Swisscom and In&Phone will bid for the spectrum.

“Switzerland will be one of the first countries in Europe to put the frequencies from the so-called ‘digital dividend’ in the 800Mhz band out to tender,” said a statement from ComCom.

“The early allocation of frequencies and a utilisation period extending up to the end of 2028 will enable licensees to plan for the long term and to make their investments on a solid foundation. Additional frequencies will enable operators to meet the booming demand for mobile broadband services.”

The regulator said operators can expect to pay a substantial amount for any spectrum they are awarded. “Anyone wishing to use frequencies – a scarce public resource – has to pay fees to do so.

In the case of an auction, minimum prices for the frequency blocks are set so that appropriate licence revenue its assured.

“In the case of particularly attractive frequencies ComCom is laying down minimum prices which are well above the minimum prescribed by the Federal Council.”

Companies, including “any new operators” wishing to take part in the auction have until March 18 2011 to submit a candidature dossier to register interest.

Candidates will have to specify the maximum spectrum they wish to purchase within individual bands, lodge a bank guarantee in the amount of their minimum bid for the frequencies they are applying for and prove they can meet the statutory licensing agreements and specific obligations of the tender invitation.

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