The Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications announced on August 31, 2015 a plan to auction new frequencies for 4G mobile service in the 2.6 GHz range.

The last auction held in Spain was in 2011. It was a multi-band auction with 270 MHz on offer, including 60 MHz of 800 MHz digital dividend, all 190 MHz of the 2.6 GHz range (110 MHz paired for national coverage, 30 MHz paired licensed by region and 50 MHz unpaired for national coverage), and 20 MHz of 900 MHz. The 2011 auction used the simultaneous multiple round ascending (SMRA) format with anonymous bidding.

The auction included a spectrum cap of 2×20 MHz in the 800 MHz range – which was not actually freed up for use until 2015 – and 115 MHz for combined 1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz (i.e. existing 3G licenses) and 2.6 GHz BRS spectrum.

Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange came away with two national licenses each in the 800 MHz range. Vodafone acquired a national paired 2.6 GHz footprint, and several other operators acquired regional 2.6 GHz paired licenses (including Ono a cable operator subsequently acquired by Vodafone, which was required to return Ono’s license).

Some licenses remained unsold: a 2.6 GHz paired regional license, 10 MHz of 900 MHz and 50 MHz of national 2.6 GHz unpaired (“TDD”) spectrum.

Details have not been released on how the Ministry intends to run this new auction and presumably it could include other frequencies as well following the recent consultation on the 1452-1492 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz ranges.

With the evolution of new formats and recent innovations, there are many possibilities for the auction: e.g. the modified SMRA approach adopted by Ofcom in the UK, the Forward Clock Auction format adopted by the FCC in the US for the 600 MHz Incentive Auction, or the evolved Combinatorial Clock Auction (CCA) used in Canada.

LYA provides expertise in planning for high stakes auctions, in license valuation and assessing competitive dynamics and auction tactics, including in the bid room with round tracking and management tools.

LYA deals with the complexities and supports its clients by conducting mock auctions and in simulating auction outcomes using robotic bidders on the LYA Auction Platforms. LYA’s platforms support SMRA, CCA and Forward Clock Auction formats.