Spectrum auction to be tried – transferability of user rights a new feature

Press release 26.03.2009 14.30 fi sv en

Finland is planning to hold a spectrum auction for frequency ranges between 2500-2690 megahertz, which are primarily reserved for wireless broadband.

The auction is slated for November 2009 and licences would be issued for a maximum period of 20 years. The primary principle is that the licence holder could, if desired, sell or lease the user rights granted in the auction to a third party. This, however, would require government approval.

The Finnish Cabinet ruled on the bill content applicable to the matter on 26 March. The intention is to enact the bill into law as soon as possible. The purpose of the bill is to promote competition and ensure effective spectrum use.

Frequencies in the 2570-2620 megahertz range would be auctioned as a single 50 megahertz bandwidth. A total of 14 2 x 5 megahertz bandwidth pairs in the 2500-2570 and 2620-2690 megahertz ranges will be auctioned.

According to the bill, no more than 50 megahertz can be granted to any single business or organisation. This is intended to prevent a monopolisation of frequencies, ensuring that there are enough frequencies for at least four different businesses.

Each business or organisation entering the auction would be charged a EUR 50,000 participation fee to cover the administrative costs of the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA).

The starting price specified in the bill is set at EUR 15,000 per megahertz. The auction would be held in one or more bidding rounds, with rising bids. The licence would be granted to the business or organisation which submits the highest approved bid on the item up for auction, provided that the permit authority does not have any overwhelming reason to suspect that granting the licence would jeopardise national security.

Previously, spectrum user rights were not made available for sale; indeed this auction approach is being taken on a trial basis.

"The government is committed to developing the use of radio frequencies in a more flexible and efficient way. The purpose of this bill is to gain experience in applying the auction approach in the Finnish communications sector as part of a national broadband strategy," states Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén.

Further information:

Juhapekka Ristola, Director of the Communications Networks Unit, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 (400) 788 530
Ministerial Adviser, Kaisa Laitinen, tel. +358 (9) 160 28608 or +358 (40) 772 7643