Ukraine’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, MTS Ukraine (formerly Ukrainian Mobile Communications), has attacked the country’s telecoms regulator, the National Commission on Communications Regulation (NCCR) for providing insufficient information on upcoming 3G licence auctions, preventing cellcos from forming investment plans. The NCCR on Tuesday announced that a single UMTS licence would be sold in an auction to be launched on 30 November 2009, including a 25MHz block of spectrum in the 2.1GHz band, with a duration of 15 years and a reserve price of UAH400 million (USD49 million). The watchdog added that three more 3G concessions would be auctioned in the future, but gave no timeframe. Adding to MTS’s annoyance, the specified allocation is smaller than the 35MHz of 3G frequencies held by the country’s sole W-CDMA/HSPA network operator, state-owned Ukrtelecom (Utel), whilst there has been no confirmation of the amount of bandwidth to be released to subsequent licensees, making it impossible to put an accurate value on the single licence. Russian-owned MTS will be competing for 3G frequencies with local mobile market leader Kyivstar, backed by Norway’s Telenor, Turkcell-controlled third-placed cellco Astelit (Life), and the fourth largest player Ukrainian Radio Systems (Beeline), part of the Russian Vimpelcom group.
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