ROME Feb 5 Italy will probably hold its planned
auction of digital television frequency licences by the middle
of the year, Deputy Industry Minister Antonio Catricala said on
Three, 20-year licences for so-called multiplex groups of
channels transmitted on digital bandwidth are due to be
auctioned, with the combined base price for the three blocs set
at 90.75 million euros ($122.81 million), Catricala told a
"It is very likely that the operation will end up being
completed by the summer," he said.
The auction rules will favour new entrants and small
operators, which will be free to bid for all three packages on
offer while groups which already hold two multiplexes will be
eligible to bid for two packages.
In a measure which would allow News Corp's Italian
pay TV unit, Sky Italia, to bid, groups with a market share of
more than 50 percent of the pay TV segment would be eligible to
bid for a single multiplex.
The bigger groups which already hold three or more
multiplexes, including Mediaset, RAI and Telecom Italia
, are ruled out of bidding.