Telekom Austria buys half of Slovenia's spectrum sale

A cyclist talks on his mobile phone as he passes a Telekom Austria phone booth in Vienna April 23, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

VIENNA (Reuters) - Telekom Austria bought almost half the spectrum on offer in a Slovenian auction for 64 million euros ($89 million), it said in a statement on Monday.

Its Slovenian unit, Si.mobil, plans to cover 50 percent of the Slovenian population with fourth-generation LTE technology for faster internet by the end of the year, and 95 percent of the population within three years.

The company said it bought two blocks of 800 megahertz spectrum, a frequency band it had previously lacked, and also increased its amount of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum, taking 48 percent of the frequencies on offer.

Telekom Slovenia, the country’s biggest operator, which Slovenia is trying to privatize, bought almost as much spectrum as Telekom Austria.

Third-biggest carrier, privately owned Tusmobil, added some 800 MHz spectrum, Telekom Austria said.

Telekom Austria’s two biggest shareholders, the Austrian government and Carlos Slim’s America Movil, signed a shareholder agreement last week that gives America Movil operational control of the company.

Slim plans to use Telekom Austria, which already operates in seven central and eastern European countries outside Austria, as a base to build up his presence in European telecoms.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Erica Billingham