5G frequency auction has attracted more than €5 billion in bids so far, more than double government’s reserve price

Bidding continues apace in the Italian 5G spectrum auction, driven by interest in the 3.7 GHz band, which had attracted offers totalling almost €3 billion by the close of the contest’s ninth day on Tuesday.

Vodafone and TIM have each pledged in excess of €1.3 billion for an 80 MHz block of 3.7 GHz spectrum, while Wind Tre and Iliad are bidding on 20 MHz blocks in the same band and have offered €235.7 million and €102 million respectively, according to data published by Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development.

That means the 3.7 GHz band has attracted bids worth a total of €2.95 billion.

The running total for the auction as a whole, which also includes 700 MHz and 26 GHz frequencies, has passed the €5 billion mark, standing at €5.15 billion. That is more than double the reserve price, the ministry noted.

Bidding in the 26 GHz band is static at €163.7 million, with all five participants set to secure frequencies.

The ministry has not yet declared that portion of the contest officially over though.

It has, however, concluded the 700 MHz part of the auction. TIM and Vodafone each picked up 2×10 MHz of 700 MHz frequencies for €680.2 million and €683.2 million respectively. Iliad paid €676.5 million for the same amount of spectrum, a block that had been reserved for it as a market newcomer.