The Spanish government raised a total of 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, with local operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange securing these key frequencies to expand 5G services.
The Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs detailed that the government raised around 15 million euros above the starting price. The government also confirmed that each license will have a duration of 20 years, rising to a maximum of 40 years.
The 700 MHz spectrum tender process was divided into two blocks of 2×10 megahertz and three of 5 megahertz, consisting of a total 12 rounds of bidding, which was contested by the country’s three major operators after local operator Masmovil decided not to take part in the process earlier this month.
Vodafone Spain said it spent a total of 350 million euros on 2×10 megahertz blocks, which will be paid in a single installment, in addition to a licensing fee of 15.5 million euros payable each year. The operator said it would use the new frequencies to expand its 5G footprint and offer better coverage, including indoors.
“With the new 5G frequencies, Vodafone Spain will accelerate the deployment of the 5G network in the coming months so that both companies and customers can accelerate the recovery and take advantage of the digital transformation,” said Vodafone Spain’s CEO Colman Deegan.
Telefónica spent 310 million euros for 2×10 megahertz, paying slightly less because of faster rollout obligations.
“The block awarded to Telefónica stipulates coverage commitments to cover before June 2025 with 5G all municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants, airports, ports and AVE train stations, as well as highways,” the carrier said in a release.
Meanwhile, Orange Spain spent 350 million euros for the same spectrum block.
“The company will continue to accelerate the deployment of this advanced mobile network, with which it already reached 442 municipalities in 38 provinces at the end of the first quarter of the year and expects to offer 5G coverage to more than 50% of the Spanish population before the end of 2021,” Orange said in a separate statement.
The Spanish government said that there were no bidders for the 5MHz blocks.
Spanish operators have already launched 5G services through spectrum in the 3.5 GHz, which was awarded in 2018.
In February, the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation had awarded the remaining two 10-megahertz blocks of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band to local carriers Orange and Telefonica.
Orange and Telefónica were the only two operators that took part in this last auction, each paying the starting price of 21 million euros for a 10-megahertz block.