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Swedish regulator finalises 700MHz 5G auction, but 3 launches legal challenge

The regulator PTS has awarded spectrum to two bidders in the auction.

Background: Having scrapped its initial plans to award 700MHz spectrum in 2017, the Swedish regulator PTS has worked throughout 2018 to set up the award. In July, the PTS issued the auction rules, which were then appealed by 3 (Hi3G). The auction still went on, and commenced on 4 December.

What’s new: After five days of bidding, 46 rounds, and one additional round to decide the placement of the lots, the auction has now concluded. Telia obtained one 2x10MHz block, subject to coverage obligations, for SEK1.38bn (USD152.7m), whereas Net4Mobility (a joint venture of Tele2 and Telenor) got two 2x5MHz lots for a total of SEK1.44bn (USD159.2m). Hi3G also took part in the auction, but did not obtain any spectrum. The unpaired spectrum on offer (two 5MHz SDL lots) went unsold.

What happens next: The PTS plans to issue licences within a few days and are valid until December 31, 2040, which means the PTS is awarding licences longer than 20 years. The regulator also plans to look into possible uses of the unsold SDL licences. However, 3 announced it will legally challenge the result of the auction.