Telecom Italia Is Top Bidder in Italian 5G Airwaves Auction
Telecom Italia was the highest bidder in an Italian auction of airwaves for fifth-generation mobile services that raised at least $2.9 billion, according to Bloomberg.
The former monopoly offered 951 million euros for four blocks of spectrum, followed by Iliad with 749 million euros and Vodafone’s local unit with 716 million euros, Italy’s ministry for economic development said on its website. As a newcomer, France’s Iliad had a special right to bid for a reserved package of 700-megahertz frequencies, the most valuable. The carriers will be allowed to increase their offers as they vie for the scarce resource.
5G auctions across Europe represent a challenge for the region’s mobile phone carriers. Smaller players could see their business models come under strain if larger players squeeze them out of important spectrum. Italian auction shows how much telecom companies are ready to pay for the frequencies that will power networks that provide much more capacity than current technology.
For Italy’s government, 5G is a way to boost the digitization of public services and economic growth. The spectrum sale could also pull in 2.98 billion euros for the state, higher than the government’s budgeted estimate of at least 2.5 billion euros. The preliminary bids totaled 2.48 billion euros. In June, Italy’s biggest phone companies had threatened to boycott the auction because they said the bidding rules were too rigid and the starting price was too high.