Spare Change for Dutch Spectrum

8:35 AM -- While operators in other countries are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for new spectrum, Dutch carriers managed to pick up fresh airspace with some loose change they found down the back of their car seats.

The Dutch government will collect a total of €2.6 million (US$3.5 million) from the auction for 2.6GHz spectrum from five operators, which is like spare change in a telecom industry context. (See More Euro Auction Action.)

Part of the explanation for the miniscule amount that the operators are paying for this spectrum, which is good for Long Term Evolution (LTE) or adding capacity to 3G networks, has to do with the caps the government placed on the existing operators to make way for new entrants in the market, which meant that "demand was curtailed," according to Amit Nagpal, a partner with Analysys Mason .

The three Dutch mobile operators -- KPN Mobile , T-Mobile Netherlands , and Vodafone Netherlands -- were only allowed to bid for 55MHz of frequency in total, and they have each acquired spectrum in the auction.

The two newcomers to the Dutch market are Tele2 Netherlands Holding NV and cable operator Ziggo B.V.

The auction results are here on a translated page from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

And there was apparently no appetite for WiMax or the time division duplex (TDD) version of LTE (a.k.a. TD-LTE) from the operators bidding in the auction. The Dutch government has on its hands 66.87MHz of unpaired spectrum -- which is suitable for WiMax -- that no one bid for in this auction.

— Michelle "Ziggo" Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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