Expiring GSM licences reauctioned

22 Feb 2005

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NPT) has invited bids for the GSM-900 licences currently held by incumbents Telenor and NetCom (a wholly owned subsidiary of TeliaSonera). The pair have already offered to pay NOK100 million to retain their licences, which are due to expire in November. The companies have also offered to pay an annual fee of NOK9.6 million. If no new parties respond to the invitation, which closes on 22 April, Telenor and NetCom will have their licences renewed automatically. Both operators are confident that they will retain their concessions, citing the high cost associated with rolling out a new network and onerous licence terms, one of which states that at least 960 base stations be rolled out within two years. There remains, however, the possibility that Hi3G Access, the Norwegian subsidiary of Hutchison, could make a play for one of the licences.