Xfera given year-end launch deadline

7 Jul 2006

The Spanish government has given 3G start-up Xfera Móviles the green light to delay its commercial launch to the end of the year. After numerous delays and missed targets, the state had given Xfera a deadline to start operations by 30 June 2006. But last month Scandinavian telco TeliaSonera formalised a plan to takeover the troubled operator, pledging to rollout services by the end of the year. The state has agreed on the grounds that Xfera provides a minimum 25% coverage of the population at launch and 50% within five years. TeliaSonera says it will invest EUR1 billion in Xfera over the next five years, the bulk of which will be spent on the rollout of its networks and IP service platforms, alongside other start-up costs and spectrum fees (including accrued fees dating back to 2002). The Scandinavian group says it has already resurrected an agreement with mobile operator Vodafone Spain to roam on its nationwide network; the deal was first signed in 2001.

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