VILNIUS - Lithuania's Communications Regulatory Authority last week announced a tender for several new third-generation mobile phone licenses.
The authority said it planned to issue three universal mobile telecommunications standard (UMTS) licenses for a 20-year period. The price of one license is 3.5 million litas (1 million euros).
"There was speculation that the launch of the tender had been delayed for too long. In fact, everything is going according to schedule. We had to announce the tender in the fourth quarter of this year, and we did so," said authority director Tomas Barakauskas.
Specialists established the price of the license, he added, basing it on an analysis of investment needs, expenditure and other indicators.
Bids will be accepted until Jan. 12, 2006, and winners are to be announced on Feb. 13.
Three companies currently operate GSM mobile communication networks in Lithuania: Omnitel, which is owned by the Nordic telecommunications group TeliaSonera, Swedish-owned Tele2, and Bite Lietuva, which is owned by Denmark's TDC.
All three operators are expected to bid for the UMTS licenses.
Bite Lietuva acquired Latvia's third GSM/UMTS license for 9.2 million euros last spring and is now providing mobile phone services in the neighboring country.
According to the Communications Regulatory Authority data, there were 4.07 million mobile phone subscribers in Lithuania at the end of June, out of which 3.53 million were active users. Omnitel held the largest share with 39 percent, followed by Tele2 (33 percent) and Bite Lietuva (27 percent).