Wind Calls for National Wholesale LTE Network
Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy), Italy’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers has called for its rivals to pool their resources to help roll out national wholesale Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Speaking on the sidelines at a conference in Capri, chief executive Maximi Ibarra commented “I believe there is awareness among all mobile operators that there is the need to place, into a specifically created company, frequencies and networks. Competition will be on services.”
In August 2011 Wind secured a number of sought-after frequencies in the Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico’s (MdSE’s) long-awaited LTE-suitable spectrum auction. Wind paid EUR481.7 million for a ‘specific’ allocation of spectrum in the 800MHz band, which it supplemented with a ‘general’ concession in the same band, priced at EUR496.1 million. In addition, Wind secured three blocks of ‘general’ spectrum in the 2.6GHz band which were priced at around EUR36 million apiece, and one ‘specific’ block of frequencies in the same band, costing EUR33.8 million. Wind has yet to formally comment on when it plans to deploy a commercial LTE network, or indeed which spectrum band it intends to utilize, although rumors of a late-2012 launch have surfaced in the Italian press.