Ono, Euskaltel, and Telecable are to launch a joint bid for new mobile telephony licences following the opening of a consultation process by the Spanish trade ministry.
The cablecos have previously been unsuccessful in their attempts to secure regional licences and see a joint bid as the best way to take on the established operators Movistar, Vodafone and Orange.
New capacity on frequencies lower than 800MHz is being freed up by the Digital Dividend, using frequencies previously held for analogue television broadcasters. The capacity is highly prized by operators because of the possibilities for indoor reception. A further block above 900MHz is also being made available.
In a statement the operators said they had made investments of €10 million over the last decade in the development of next generation networks. “Cable has a modern fibre optic network to connect homes and businesses and needs new frequencies for mobile base stations to deploy and develop its business with the necessary competitiveness, benefiting the end consumer. Failure to establish appropriate conditions to facilitate access of cable frequencies greatly limits the momentum of an advanced and competitive market. ”
If successful the operators would be able to greatly enhance their existing triple play offer, adding mobile to telephony to fixed-line services, broadband internet and TV.
The Spanish government plans to release the spectrum on a gradual basis through to 2014, a policy that is seen to favour the cablecos chances of securing capacity. The awards themselves will be made during 2011.