Spain Gets €1.1 Billion from 5G Auction

Spain earned €1.1 billion in a delayed auction for 5G-suitable frequencies in the 700MHz band. Local units of Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone will pay more than €300 million each.

The Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs detailed the end of the auction, with the total sum raised around €15 million above the starting price. Each licence carries a duration of 20 years, rising to a maximum of 40 years, running to 2061. The 700MHz band sale was divided into two blocks of 2x10MHz and three of 5MHz, consisting of a total 12 rounds of bidding, which was contested by the country’s three major operators after Masmovil opted out of the process earlier this month.

All three operators released separate statements following the conclusion. Vodafone Spain said it spent €350 million on 2x10MHz blocks, which will be paid in a single instalment, in addition to a licensing fee of €15.5 million payable each year. It said it would use the new frequencies to expand its footprint and offer better coverage, including indoors.

Orange Spain spent the same amount for the same blocks, stating the move had consolidated its position with the most spectrum in the priority frequencies for 5G. In total, it said it had invested €523 million on 5G spectrum in Spain, building on 110MHz in the 3.5GHz it bought in the last auction. The local incumbent Telefonica spent €310 million for 2x10MHz, paying slightly less because of faster rollout obligations. Notably, there were no bidders in the 5MHz blocks.

It is Spain’s second sale of 5G-suitable spectrum, following an auction covering the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz bands in 2018. A sale of 26GHz spectrum is planned by the year-end.

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