The Czech mobile operators Eurotel and T-Mobile have revealed that plan to delay their launch of 3G services until 2007. The two companies had been expected to launch their first UMTS networks in January next year, as required under the terms of their 3G concession. However, they have been granted an extension to the launch deadline by the country’s telecoms regulator, the CTU. Eurotel spokesperson Diana Dobalova told Dow Jones: “This will give us a greater flexibility in the process of launching the UMTS service.”
The Czech mobile market has almost reached saturation point, with around 10.5 million users at the end of 2004. Eurotel claims around 43% of the market, while T-Mobile has 40%. The smallest of the three operators, TIW-backed Oskar Mobil, has 1.8 million subscribers and a 17% market share. Oskar was recently awarded the country’s third 3G concession after refusing to take part in the Czech government’s original licensing process in 2001. It has until 2008 to launch a service.