Ukrainian 3G License Sale Called into Question
Published on: 26th Oct 2009
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
The plans to sell a 3G license in Ukraine has been called into question after Ukraine's president overturned a decision to transfer parts of the radio spectrum controlled by the military for mobile phone network use.
The Reuters news agency reported that President Viktor Yushchenko, who is at odds with the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said the decision was overturned to safeguard Ukraine's defensive capabilities.
The telecoms regulator, the National Communications Regulatory Commission (NCRC) recently announced plans to sell a single 3G license later this year. The license, which will be valid for fifteen years will have a reserve price of UAH 400 million (USD50 million) and the auction was due to start on November 30th. The license will award 25Mhz of radio spectrum to the winner.
The regulator also said at the time that it plans to sell three more 3G licenses in the future, without specifying a timeline. The Presidential decree may cause the regulator to award insufficient radio spectrum for the networks to deploy a commercially viable 3G network.
Currently, there is one 3G license which is held by state-owned, Ukrtelecom. The company was granted its license in 2005 without an open tender but has not signed up significant subscribers since its launch in 2007. At the time, the company said that it planed to invest USD700 million in the development of its 3G network by 2010.
The country has six mobile networks, and based on figures from the Mobile World subscriber tracker, their market shares are: Kyivstar (41%); UMC (32.9%); Astelit (21.6%) and a distant forurth is Ukrainian Radio Systems (3.6%). Ukrtelecom and Golden Telecom both have less than 1% each.