Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Greece - Spectrum auction is pitched at higher prices to help pay off its deficit

[ny times] This November, the Greek government hopes to raise as much as €300 million by auctioning some of the best parts of its broadcast spectrum to three mobile network operators. Proceeds from the sale would help Greece weather its financial crisis.

But Greece, despite its grave fiscal problems, is by no means acting like a distressed seller. The country is planning to sell 14 units of prime 900-megahertz spectrum. At current prices, a block of 10 megahertz could cost as much as €46.6 million, or $66.2 million. One operator, Wind Hellas, says that is twice as much as other European sellers are asking in similar sales.

“The approach used to set the price for the renewal of mobile spectrum is driven solely by short-term revenue gains and disregards the need for Greece to create a positive investment climate,” Nassos Zarkalis, the chief executive of Wind, the No. 3 operator, said after the government set the auction’s terms in late July. “This sends the worst signal possible to international investors.”

The price demands are particularly galling to Wind, whose owners, a group of five U.S and British investment funds, recently paid €420 million to acquire the company in December, the largest single investment by a foreign company in Greece so far.

Terms of Spectrum Auction in Greece Rankle Operators

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