Friday, March 30, 2007

Government now calling for 4th mobile operator in Macedonia

n the wake of the successful award of a third mobile licence to Mobilkom of Austria in January this year, the Macedonian government has reportedly announced its intention to license a fourth mobile network operator to further boost competition in the sector. According to a report from Skopje-based Makfax online, the regulator, the Agency for Electronic Communications, will issue a public notice on the introduction of fourth mobile operator, subject to it receiving interest from bidders in the international community. The terms and criteria for the fourth network operator will be specified in due course.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced plans to license a third mobile operator to compete with the country's two incumbents — T-Mobile Macedonia (formerly MobiMak) a wholly owned subsidiary of national PTO T-Com Macedonia, and Cosmofon, run by Greek telco OTE's mobile arm Cosmote in September 2006. The tender began in December 2006, under the terms and conditions of which the successful bidder was required to pay a one-off upfront payment of at least EUR5 million for rights to the frequency spectrum. Two months later, Mobilkom of Austria's bid to become the country's third mobile operator was approved by the government. The Austrian firm was the sole company to enter a bid, offering EUR10 million (USD13 million) for the ten-year (renewable) GSM licence.

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