Bulgaria’s Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) has announced plans to auction five national ten-year point-to-multipoint (PT2MP) licences. The first auction is to be held on 11 October for two ‘Class A’ permits with capacity of 21MHz, with bidding to start at BGL1.344 million (EUR687,000). The other three ‘Class B’ licences will have 10.5MHz capacity and will be auctioned on 25 October, with starting bids set at BGL672,000 (EUR344,000). The CRC has refused to bar former monopoly the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) from the auctions, citing underwhelming interest from local telecoms start-ups as the reason.
The PT2MP broadband wireless technology provides transmission speeds from 128kbps to 34Mbps and has the advantage of extending fixed network coverage to areas where there are no copper wires or fibre-optic cables present. Wireless market leader MobilTel received a fixed line operating licence in January 2005, which covers the use of PT2MP technology to provide converged fixed/wireless voice, data and video services, as well as broadband internet access. MobilTel claims that it has already invested between EUR500 million and EUR600 million in the new venture, and says it is now capable of launching commercial operations over its own infrastructure, in addition to renting BTC’s lines. Second placed cellco Cosmo Bulgaria is also expected to bid for a PT2MP concession.