Alternative pan-European telecoms services provider Tele2 [Nasdaq: TLTOA] says its Estonian subsidiary Tele2 Eesti has been awarded a third-generation mobile licence by the Estonian National Communication Board (ENCB). The concession was formally issued by the regulator on 4 August 2003 and is valid until 4 August 2013. Following an announcement on 23 April this year from the ENCB, Estonia’s three incumbent wireless players Tele2, Eesti Mobiiltelefon (EMT) and Radiolinja Eesti each submitted proposals to the Ministry of Transport and Communications to buy a UMTS licence for EEK70 million. Eesti Mobiiltelefon (EMT) and Radiolinja Eesti were subsequently awarded ten-year licences on 15 July. The government also plans to allocate a fourth UMTS concession in an open tender with a starting price of EEK70 million. Details of the award process will be announced by 1 November and the public tender is expected to be completed in March 2004.
Tele2 says its is keen to see the construction of a single UMTS network in Estonia, a seemingly practical solution in a country of just 1.4 million people. Although its rivals were less enthusiastic in the run-up to the awards, Radiolinja Eesti recently hinted that it was warming to the idea of network sharing, possibly paving the way for the practice to become reality.