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Vodafone Down Most in a Month After $1.8 Billion Spectrum Buy

Vodafone Group Plc fell the most in more than a month on concern that a 1.4 billion-euro ($1.84 billion) spectrum purchase in a Dutch government auction will herald higher prices for frequencies to carry faster mobile services.

Vodafone dropped as much as 3.1 percent to 156 pence in London trading, the biggest intraday decline since Nov. 13, and was down 2.8 percent as of 10:47 a.m. The stock had fallen 10 percent this year through Dec. 14.

The Dutch government raised 3.8 billion euros on Friday from Vodafone, Royal KPN NV, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile unit and Tele2 AB as the carriers bought the rights to airwaves that will carry signals on faster fourth-generation networks. The U.K. government is planning a similar auction that will begin in 2013.

The “losers are all the telco operators and specifically Vodafone, which will have to participate and pay in auctions all over Europe,” Saeed Baradar, an analyst for Societe Generale in London, said in a note. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne “must be very excited about the prospects for upcoming U.K. auctions where the renewal cost of the original 2G spectrum will be priced off the 4G auctions.”

KPN, the Dutch phone company partly owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB, today had its biggest indraday drop in 11 years after it cut its dividend to pay 1.35 billion euros for Dutch frequencies.

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