DNA, Elisa and Sonera snap up 700MHz spectrum for €66m

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Finnish mobile operators DNA, Elisa and Sonera have acquired 60MHz of spectrum, across six paired frequency blocks in the 700MHz band for a total of €66.33 million.

DNA has purchased paired frequency blocks at 703-708MHz and 758-763MHz, and at 708-713MHz and 763-768MHz, for a combined fee of €22 million.

Elisa paid the same for paired 5MHz blocks at 713-718MHz and 768-773MHz, and 718-723MHz and 773-778MHz.

Telia Company’s subsidiary in Finland, Sonera, acquired paired frequencies at 723-728MHz and 778-783MHz, and at 728-733MHz and 783-788MHz. It paid €22.33 million. 

The six new operating licences are valid for 17 years, from the start of February 2017 to the end of December 2033. Payments will be made to the Finnish telecoms regulator, Ficora, in five annual installments over the next five years.

The terms of the auction stipulated that licence holders must achieve 99 percent population coverage by February 2020. Current LTE licences set a 95 percent coverage target for the end of this year. 

DNA and Elisa both claim to have reached 99 percent population coverage with their 4G networks already. Telia Company said its 4G network in the country reaches 97 percent of the population.

Bidders in the auction were limited to two paired blocks. The starting price was set at €11million for each.

The German regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, raised over €5 billion from auction of 700Mhz spectrum, as well as new tranches of the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, in June last year, with Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Germany and Telefónica Deutschland each acquiring 2x10MHz blocks of 700MHz band.

French regulator Arcep raised €2.8 billion from the auction of the 700MHz band in November 2015, with Free Mobile and Orange picking up two paired blocks, and Bouygues and SFR awarded one block.

The European Commission announced plans in February to allow operators to launch mobile broadband services on the 700MHz band by 2020, setting a deadline of 30 June 2020 for the 700MHz band to be assigned.