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Hungary to relaunch $92 mln mobile tender in 2010

Hungary plans to relaunch a fourth mobile frequency this year in a tender valued at up to HUF 20 billion ($91.50 million), a move which could expand services, while boosting the struggling country's coffers.

The new center-right government's announcement follows a failed attempt to close the tender during the financial crisis last year.

The new frequency could attract a new operator and/or offer existing operators more services in the mobile internet segment.

The National Development Ministry said it wanted more broadband internet services on the frequency.

The three existing mobile providers in the country are Magyar Telekom, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, Britain's Vodafone Group Plc and Norway's Telenor ASA.

The daily Népszabadság cited unnamed industry executives as saying each operator would like extra capacity from the new frequency.

The money to be raised from the proposed tender represents a significant chunk of the government's overall forecasted revenues, and is already in the government's 2010 budget.

Hungary needs income as it struggles to keep its budget deficit at 3.8% of gross domestic product, as agreed with international lenders who saved it from insolvency in 2008.

The country's deficit has reached nearly 120% of the full-year target by the end of the first half, although analysts said that new tax measures would help rein in the shortfall and the deficit target remained attainable. (Reuters)