Slovenia grants 3G phone license for free

Telco

Slovenia’s telecommunication market regulator has granted free of charge a UMTS mobile phone license to local operator Tusmobil because it was the sole bidder, the regulator told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We granted the license for free because no one else was interested in it. If there is no demand, the license can be granted without a public tender and for free,” Dragana Lukic, a spokeswoman of the Post and Electronic Communications Agency (APEK), told media. She said only Tusmobil had replied to APEK’s invitation in December to submit applications for the license. State-owned Mobitel, a unit of Telekom Slovenia, paid some €92 million ($145.5 million) for a license in 2001, while T-2 and Simobil, owned by Telekom Austria, each paid €6.3 to 6.5 million in 2006.

Mobitel and Simobil said they were surprised by the decision. “We have never heard of a case where such an important public good would be granted without a public tender and for free,” Simobil’s management board member Milan Zaletel said. Mobitel has a market share of about 66% in Slovenia, followed by Simobil with some 26%. Market share of Tus Mobil is about 0.6%. Three other operators control the rest of the market. (The Economic Times)

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