Telekom Austria to pay 1 billion euros for spectrum: paper

VIENNA Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:52am EDT

A communications tower is pictured at Telekom Austria's technology centre in Vienna August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

A communications tower is pictured at Telekom Austria's technology centre in Vienna August 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Telekom Austria (TELA.VI) will pay around 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) for new telecoms spectrum in an auction that will net around 2 billion euros for the government, a newspaper reported.

Austria's WirtschaftsBlatt, citing well-informed sources, said Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile Austria would pay 700 million euros and Hutchison Whampoa's (0013.HK) H3G would hand over 300 million.

The Austrian telecoms regulator said it would not provide any information ahead of a news conference at 1600 GMT on the matter.

Such a high price could trigger a capital hike at Telekom Austria, which had been expected to spend between 300 million euros and 400 million on the auction, and may slow the operators' ability to invest in building networks based on the new frequencies.

Yet taking part in the auction is essential for the country's three operators, who would be unable otherwise to offer fourth-generation mobile broadband with speeds up to 10 times what is currently available.

Reuters reported last month that bids had reached around 2 billion euros in the auction, which began on September 9 and had targeted at least 526 million.

The operators, under threat of being expelled from the auction if there is any hint of collusion, have been forbidden by the regulator from talking about the sale on pain of being expelled from the process.

Similar auctions in much larger European countries have brought in 4.4 billion euros in Germany, 3.6 billion in France, 2.34 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) in Britain and 3.8 billion euros in the Netherlands.

(Editing by David Holmes)

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