ZURICH Switzerland could net several hundred million Swiss francs from an auction of new frequencies for mobile phones in the first half of 2011, Communications Commission Secretary Peter Baer said on Friday.
Current players including former monopolist Swisscom, in which the government still holds some 50 percent, and rivals Orange and Sunrise and new entrants could bid for the frequencies, the commission said.
"Consumers in Switzerland should, in the future, also be able to enjoy mobile phone offers of high quality and reasonable price," it said. "Therefore the ComCom wants to use the new allotment of mobile frequencies to achieve the most optimal, sustainable distribution in the interest of competition."
Earlier this year, Swiss anti-trust authorities blocked Orange from buying rival Sunrise, saying it would harm competition. Orange and Sunrise had wanted to be able to better take on Swisscom.
(Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Dan Lalor)