Europe’s three biggest phone companies will gather in a small German town next week for a government auction of mobile frequencies that will be closely watched by regulators and carriers across the continent.
Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica will bid for airwaves, including for the first time blocks of 700 megahertz band occupied by broadcasters that are important for improving mobile broadband coverage in cities. The sale starts at 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) and the final outcome for all frequencies may come close to the 4.4 billion euros raised in the last auction in 2010, according to analysts at Warburg Research.
Winning additional frequency will let operators offer stronger urban coverage and better connections indoors as Germans watch more videos via the Internet, something they still do much less than the global average, according to TNS Group. For European regulators, the auction in Mainz will provide clues as to how much their own sales might fetch.