Hungary’s telecoms body said it raised HUF130.6 billion ($530.25 million) through an auction of 4G mobile broadband spectrum.
NMHH said it sold licences for airwaves in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, as well as unallocated 900MHz and 1.8GHz spectrum.
The four licence winners are Deutsche Telekom’s Magyar Telekom, the Hungarian units of Vodafone and Telenor, and new entrant Digi Telecommunications.
Magyar Telkom will pay HUF58.65 billion, while Telenor will shell out HUF31.73 billion and Vodafone HUF30.23 billion. Digi Telecommunications, which is a privately-held Romanian company, will pay a more modest HUF10 billion.
NMHH said in a statement that its aim “is to quicken the setting up of broadband networks, to develop the Hungarian digital economy and to boost economic competition”.
The organisation said Digi will build a fourth mobile network, with evidence from other European countries that a new entrant “mobilises and revitalises the market, enhances price competition and engenders new services”.
Digi will need around 18 months to build up its network while the existing operators will be able to make use of the spectrum in a matter of days.
NMHH added that the “favourable propagation characteristics” of 800MHz spectrum will mean service providers can introduce services in regions where broadband coverage has previously been inadequate, opening up new consumer markets.
The licences are valid for 20 years, which “ensures the dynamic growth of the economy and represents a guarantee for the sustainable development of the mobile market while offering predictable terms for fostering industry investments”.
Magyar Telkom is the largest operator in Hungary with 5.4 million connections at the end of the second quarter, according to GSMA Intelligence figures. Telenor is in second place with 3.2 million connections, while Vodafone’s 2.6 million connections places it third.
Magyar Telekom became the first operator to launch commercial LTE services in Hungary when it launched its network in Budapest on 1 January 2012. Telenor also offers 4G, although neither player has yet seen significant take up.