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Dutch Spectrum Auction To Starts In Oct; Advantages For Newcomers

AMSTERDAM -(Dow Jones)- The Netherlands will auction mobile spectrum in October, with three spectrum blocks to be reserved for new entrants to the market, the country's Economic Ministry said Friday. Three mobile network firms currently operate in the euro zone's fifth-largest economy: market leader Royal KPN NV (KPN.AE), Vodafone PLC (VOD) and Deutsche Telekom AG's (DTE.XE) T-Mobile. In the auction, two spectrum blocks in the 800 megahertz band and one in the 900 MHz band will be reserved for new entrants. The 800 MHz band is a better fit for new fourth-generation mobile network as it offers higher download and upload speeds than are currently available, and is the most valuable given that it requires fewer base stations and antennas when building a network. According to the rules of the auction, at least two market entrants will have the chance to secure spectrum in these bands. Swedish company Tele2 AB (TEL2-B.SK) has been touted as a possible entrant. Tele2 had initially intended to make a decision on entering the Dutch mobile market with its own network by the end of last year. But in November, manager Lars Torstensson indicated that a decision could be delayed. Also at that time, Tele2 Chief Financial Officer Lars Nilsson said an entry to the Dutch market through a partner, such as a cable network company, "is definitely an option." Liberty Global Inc.'s (LBTYA) UPC and unlisted Ziggo jointly secured mobile spectrum last year, but haven't built a mobile network of their own yet, nor have they announced plans to do so. Interested telecom firms have to register to participate October's spectrum auction by mid-April. -By Archibald Preuschat, Dow Jones Newswires; +31 20 5715 218; archibald.preuschat@dowjones.com

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