Spain’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society, Victor Calvo-Sotelo, announced yesterday that the ministry is renegotiating the plan to release the ‘digital dividend’ for mobile telephony.
Speaking at the Industry Committee of Congress to report on the budget of his department, Calvo-Sotelo said that it includes €40 million for the transition programme and liberalization of the digital dividend frequencies now occupied by television so they can be used for mobile telephony, according to the rights awarded last year. The Secretary of State said the proposed liberalization of spectrum for mobile fourth generation "was very ambitious and very expensive," at some €800 million, and that he is currently renegotiating with the sectors involved to make a simpler plan at a lower cost.
He says the plan includes the transfer of television multiplex, which is used very little, and currently tries to accommodate public and private television in the spectrum without any disruption to the Spanish antenna reinstallation through major changes and costs. He reiterated that the ministry wants to advance the plan’s implementation so that mobile operators can use the spectrum on 1 January 2014, a year ahead of schedule. Regarding the amount received for licences for radio spectrum competition for mobile phones last year, about €2 billion, he said this could not be used for the plan since the previous Government had used it to reduce deficit.
Finally, the Secretary of State stressed the commitment of his department to mobile telephony, saying it will be “very” important in the future. Initially, the ministry will provide €1 million to Barcelona Mobile Capital for the next edition of the World Mobile Congress, in a commitment to provide a total of €5 million. The budget of the Secretariat of State for Telecommunications and Information Society is €864 million, up 23% from a year ago, but Calvo-Sotelo stressed that in recent years the budget was around 60%.