Earlier this month, the Vodafone Group spent large amounts in Italy’s 5G auction to develop its 5G network rollout in Italy. Vodafone warned European governments simultaneously against inflating prices for the required spectrum. The company spent a total of €2.4 billion to acquire the spectrum that will underpin its Italian 5G network.
80 percent 5G coverage planned in Milan by end of 2018
Vodafone has also announced plans to make the city of Milan Europe’s future 5G capital. Building on a series of 5G trials and initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry for Economic Development in Milan and its metropolitan area, Vodafone expects to have achieved 80 percent 5G mobile network coverage in the city of Milan and its surrounding metropolitan area by the end of December 2018.
To push this development also in other Italian regions, the company acquired frequency spectrum in the 700MHz, 3.6GHz and 26GHz bands, which will allow to offer a diverse portfolio of services to the customers.
Auctions create billions of revenues
With operators spending more than €6.5 billion at Italy’s 5G spectrum auction, Vodafone Group’s CEO, Nick Read, warned European governments of trying to artificially inflate spectrum prices in an attempt to boost short term revenues. In a statement the Italian Industry Ministry said the amount raised was 164 percent more than the initial offers.
“Auctions should be designed to balance fiscal requirements with the need for investment to enable economic development. Telecoms is the sector that enables all other sectors to participate in the Gigabit society. It is critical that European governments avoid artificial auction constructs which fail to strike a healthy balance for the industry,” he said.
Vodafone specifically acquired 80MHz of 3700MHz spectrum, at a cost of €1.685 billion. This spectrum will be available for use from January 2019 and has a license duration of 19 years. The company spent a further €683 million on two 10MHz blocks of 700MHz spectrum. However, this spectrum will not be available for use until July 2022.
Vodafone also spent €33 million on 200MHz of 26GHz spectrum. Vodafone will use this spectrum to deliver high capacity services in densely populated locations such as city centers, sports stadia or industrial plants.