According to local press reports Italian cellular trio Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Vodafone Italy and Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy) have been granted Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable frequencies in the 800MHz band, as originally purchased in October 2011. The 800MHz spectrum, which was relinquished by a number of local television broadcasters by 31 December 2012, attracted the highest bids during the Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico’s (MdSE’s) 22-day auction, with prices ranging from EUR481.7 million (USD629.5 million) to EUR496.1 million per allocation. The freeing-up of the frequencies was a long-running bone of contention for industry players, and prior to the auction Filippo Rebecchini, chairman of Italy’s Radio Television Association, commented: ‘First they should free up the spectrum, then sell it. You can get a lot more for a vacant house than for one with a tenant’.
In other news, TIM has reportedly extended the availability of its in-deployment LTE network to popular ski-resorts Cortina d’Ampezzo (in Belluno) and Courmayeur (Aosta). The cellco – Italy’s largest mobile operator by subscribers – inaugurated its LTE network on 7 November 2012, covering Milan, Turin, Rome and Naples, and subsequently extended coverage to Ancona, Brindisi, Catanzaro, Forli, Genoa, Padua, Palermo, Taranto and Trento.