Cable Companies to go Mobile in Spain?

(19 Jul 2010, BWCS Staff)

Four regional cable operators have joined forces to jointly bid for mobile spectrum in the promised sale of Spanish radio frequencies due to be kicked off by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce. The quartet: Euskaltel, Telecable, ONO and R, plan to use the spectrum to offer voice and mobile broadband services. The sale will cover radio spectrum in the 800MHz and 900MHz and 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands and is due to take place next year.

A joint statement from the operators said that the government has "the opportunity to improve the competitive balance if they assign an effective and efficient radio spectrum, factor in the development of competition in the market."

The operators were quick to point out that in the last decade they and other cable companies in Spain have poured around euros 10 billion into developing fixed line broadband access. In their statement they said "Cable operators do not have the spectrum to develop new networks and compete on an equal basis with mobile operators. While anyone can make investments in new fixed networks, not all operators wishing to invest in mobile networks can do so."

In the coming sale of radio frequencies the Spanish telecoms regulator has recommended that priority be given to service providers who currently do not own mobile frequencies, such as cable operators. According to Euskaltel, R, Telecable and Ono, cable operators "have a modern fibre-optic network to connect households and business customers and need frequencies to deploy mobile base stations and develop their business on a competitive basis." The four operators further believe that failing to establish the appropriate conditions to give them access to mobile spectrum "would greatly limit the development of an advanced and competitive market".


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