Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has announced that it has begun preparations for the sell-off of spectrum in the 800MHz band which can be used to offer 4G services. In a press release the ministry confirmed that it had called for comments from interested parties on draft proposals for the frequency auction as it seeks to offer the spectrum earlier than it originally planned.
Under the MoTC’s latest plans it has said it aims to launch the initial stages of the sale process sometime this year, with a view to conducting the auction itself in ‘early 2013’. The proposals include the sale of a total of 2×30MHz, to be offered in 2×5MHz frequency pairs, with the regulator having said that it hopes that the auction will generate at least EUR100 million (USD132 million) for the state’s coffers. Those concessions offered are expected to be valid for 20 years, with the MoTC noting that the final cost of the licence will be paid to the Finnish government over a five-year period.
Objectives of the auction, the MoTC has said, include ‘extending the availability of mobile broadband, especially in sparsely-populated areas’, and it is understood that all concessions offered will include conditions stipulating network coverage requirements with a view to ensuring that new networks are constructed swiftly. One of the licences that will be offered, the regulator confirmed, would include a condition requiring that the network must be constructed to cover 95% of the population of mainland Finland within three years and 99% within five years of the start of the licence period. All other concession winners, meanwhile, will be expected to construct a network covering 97% of the Finnish population within five years.
Commenting on the development, Minister of Housing and Communications Krista Kiuru noted: ‘The licence terms and conditions together with the schedule set forth in the draft mean that by 2019, 4G networks will be available to practically everyone in mainland Finland.’