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IRIS 2012-10:1/24

Romania

Spectrum Auction Successfully Concluded

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Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

Five mobile communications and Internet providers for the Romanian market have been granted a total of 485 MHz frequencies blocks in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands, the radio frequencies suitable for broadband voice mobile communications and Internet. The Autoritatea Naţională pentru Administrare şi Reglementare în Comunicaţii (National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications and telecom watchdog - ANCOM), successfully concluded the spectrum auction on 24 September 2012 (see IRIS 2011-2/35, IRIS 2011-4/33, IRIS 2012-2/34).

Five operators have won 485 MHz (out of 575 MHz tendered). The amount of spectrum available for mobile communications has increased by 77% through this tendering procedure.

Cosmote Romanian Mobile Telecommunications has won 10 blocks amounting to 100 MHz, Orange Romania 20 blocks (175 MHz), RCS&RDS one block (10 MHz), Vodafone Romania 19 blocks (170 MHz), and 2K Telecom 2 blocks (30 MHz).

The most part of the licenses are valid from 2014 until 2029 and they open the way for the introduction of 4G services, probably starting at the end of 2012. There were also some short term licenses granted (valid from 1 January 2013 until 5 April 2014). The license fees, accounting for a total of EUR 682,136,036 are to be paid by 30 November 2012, respectively by 30 June 2013, depending on the frequency blocks.

The president of ANCOM stated that mobile communications in Romania had entered a new era: the available spectrum resources allow the introduction of the 4G technology. Additionally, the 900 MHz band is distributed more efficiently. For the operators, the auction ensures security of investments and efficiency of the spectrum use. For users, the auction brings access to 4 national networks, better coverage, faster data transfer and better services provided at competitive prices.

For the first time in Romania, operators covering 30% of the population with their own radio access network may benefit from national roaming for at least three years. Moreover, following this auction, 676 rural localities currently underserved by broadband mobile communications networks are to benefit with priority from coverage.

The bands will be released by the Ministerul Apărării Naţionale (Romanian Ministry of National Defence - MApN) until 31 December 2013 at the latest. The Ministry will be reimbursed with EUR 30 Million directly by ANCOM. The rest of the money regarding the release costs for the bands will come from the license fees paid by the winners of the auctions.

As an EU member state, Romania accordingly complies with the obligation to consolidate the single market of electronic communications services through radio waves.

References
Licitaţia de spectru s-a finalizat cu succes; comunicat de presă ANCOM 24.09.2012 RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=16141
 
  ANCOM press release of 24 September 2012