Sweden - more wireless woes on the way
In a recent post on the Flarion/Siemens tie-up to take advantage of 450MHz frequency refarming (http://eurotelcoblog.blogspot.com/2004/10/flarion-and-siemens-hotwire-450mhz.html), we noted that Sweden was expected to reach a decision on licensing by the end of the year. The consultation has been published (http://www.pts.se/Nyheter/nyhet.asp?ItemId=3802), and regulator PTS has gone for an auction of 2x1.8 MHz in the frequency range 463.0-464.8/453.0- 454.8 MHz. This range is to be vacated by existing users by January of next year, and the license process envisages that 80% of the land area of each county in Sweden will be covered by 1st July 2007. This is actually a much less draconian build-out requirement than that faced by the UMTS players in the country. Given how tough the Swedish mobile market is already with only three 2G players and a handful of MVNOs, the arrival of a new player, perhaps with a superior data product, should do nothing to help sentiment towards operators with big financial stakes in the market (we have TeliaSonera as an UNDERPERFORM, and no rating on Tele2).