Estonia to hold 3G mobile auction

  • 2006-05-10
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - The Estonian government is planning to announce a competition for the issue of a fourth UMTS network, or third-generation mobile communication license, this summer. To issue the fourth license, Parliament will first have to pass an amendment to the electronic communications act. The amendment had its first reading in Parliament on May 3, and was set to be passed the following day.

Edvard Saarma, head of the communication department at the Economy Affairs and Communications Ministry, said the ministry had received a number of calls from abroad concerning the fourth license. There have been inquiries from Great Brtian, Russia and Canada, the ministry reported, though the inquiries do not automatically mean there will be bids for the license from the same parties. Still, the mobile phone market remains one of the most profitable in the Baltics, and many investors are eager to take part in the bonanza.

"I think we will announce the competition in June," Saarma said. Terms of the fourth 3G license will be similar to those already issued to three major mobile phone companies operating in the country. The term of the license will be 10 years, and the initial bidding price 70 million kroons (4.47 million euros). In at least the seventh year the owner of the license will have to launch a 3G mobile telephone network covering at least 30 percent of the Estonian population.