The Spanish government is reportedly close to unveiling a launch timetable for the country’s fourth mobile operator, Xfera. Speaking at a press conference, deputy industry minister Francisco Ros did not give any indication when a switch-on could be expected, but said a date should be announced “soon”. He added: “Xfera can play a significant role in Spain’s telecommunications market.” The government has been working with Xfera’s shareholders, which include TeliaSonera and a number of Spanish investment groups, for around a year in an effort to hammer out a launch schedule. It is not known whether the company will move straight into offering high speed mobile services using the UMTS licence it won in March 2000, or opt to resell GSM services before moving into the 3G market.
Meanwhile, Ros added that the government is urging telecoms operators to lower mobile charges to bring down end-user costs. He said the telecoms regulator CMT is considering introducing legislation to force operators to lower their tariffs, and the government is also looking at easing the way for virtual network operators to enter the market to stimulate competition.