Sweden to auction 800MHz spectrum in February 2011

The Swedish telecoms regulator, PTS, has set a date for the auction of wireless broadband spectrum in the 800GHz band, making the announcement on the eve of the first anniversary of the commercial introduction of LTE. The auction will begin on February 28th 2011, with interested parties required to apply for participation by the end of January.  Nordic carrier TeliaSonera launched the world’s first LTE service in Stockholm and Oslo on December 14th last year.

In total, 2 x 30MHz of spectrum is being made available, split into six licences of 2 x 5MHz each. A spectrum cap means that no one bidder can win more than 2 x 10MHz of the total available spectrum, as the regulator wants to ensure that at least three carriers win spectrum. Sweden currently has three mobile operators.

PTS is also imposing a coverage requirement on one of the licences in a bid to help meet the objectives of the Swedish government’s Broadband Strategy programme.

The conditions attached to this licence state that the winning bidder must deploy service so that all permanent homes and businesses that are currently without broadband service are covered by the new rollout. This deployment will be given a fixed cost, decided at the auction—it will be no less than SEK150m ($22.13m) and no more than SEK300m ($44.2m).

The successful bidders for the technology neutral licences must also undertake to remedy any interference that arises with Swedish TV broadcast services.

Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to get a commercial LTE service, when national carrier TeliaSonera launched in Oslo and Stockholm a year ago. Since then TeliaSonera has premiered LTE services in Finland and Denmark. The carrier’s operations in Lithuania, Latvia, Uzbekistan and Estonia have all launched 4G trials, it said.

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