Irish spectrum auction raises €855m

Ireland’s sale of spectrum largely drawn from the country’s recent analogue switch-off has secured €855 million for the Irish Exchequer.

Telefonica Ireland, which operates under the O2 brand, paid €125 million for the spectrum licences; Vodafone €161 million; 3 Ireland €51.15 million and Eircom, which owns Meteor and eMobile, €145 million for two blocks of spectrum.

The operators will pay a further €373 million in ongoing fees in addition to the substantial sums required to establish the networks.

The multi-band auction covers frequencies in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz bands.

“The outcome of this auction is to provide valuable spectrum for the rollout of advanced telecommunications services”, Pat Rabbitte, minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said. “The availability of spectrum in the 800 MHz band, for the first time, will allow telecommunications operators to provide new high speed broadband services that were not previously available. This particular band was made available following the successful switch over from analogue to digital TV three weeks ago”.

Under the process the operators were required to cover some 70% of the population.