German spectrum auction closes after 181 rounds, raises €5bn

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Germany has closed its spectrum auction after raising more than €5 billion, putting Vodafone, Telefónica Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom through 181 rounds of bidding.

The auction was launched on 3 June and marks the first sell off of spectrum since the market slimmed down to three operators, following Telefónica Deutschland's acquisition of E-Plus.

This morning Bundesnetzagentur, the German regulator, revealed Vodafone bought the biggest share of the 270MHz of spectrum that was up for grabs. It acquired 2x10MHz of 700MHz, 2x10MHz of 900MHz, 2x25MHz of 1800MHz, and 20MHz of 1500MHz. It paid €2.09 billion for the frequency.

A Vodafone Germany spokesperson said: "The spectrum acquired will enhance Vodafone Germany’s 4G network, increasing data traffic capacity and speed on 4G while improving voice quality on GSM services."

Deutsche Telekom bagged the next biggest amount of bandwidth. It paid €1.79 billion for 2x10MHz of 700MHZ, 2x15MHZ of 900MHZ, 2x15MHZ of 1800MHZ, and 20MHZ of 1500MHz.

Telefónica Deutschland brought up the rear, spending €1.20 billion for 2x10MHz of the 700MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz bands. The operator was left with a 61 percent share of the German market following its protracted takeover of E-Plus.

When the operator was finally given the go ahead for the takeover earlier this year, it was told it had to sell 30 percent of its combined spectrum holdings, as well as handover bandwidth and hardware to a new German telco player.