Croatia’s Telecommunications Council (TC) yesterday began an international tender for the country’s fourth wireless concession, just four months after licensing the market’s third operator. Unlike the three combined GSM-UMTS licences issued before it, the 20-year concession is solely for the provision of GSM services and has been given a starting price of HRK105 million (USD18.4 million). The tender will close on 17 June, with a winner due to be announced on 15 July.
The new player will be entering a booming market; by the end of 2004 there were 3.21 million mobile subscribers in Croatia, up from 2.51 million in December 2003, a penetration rate of 71.9%. Users were split between Deutsche Telekom-backed T-Mobile, which had 1.9 million users, and Mobilkom Austria-owned VIPnet with 1.31 million. On 25 January 2005 a joint Swedish-Croatian consortium known as Treca Sreca (Third Luck), led by Sweden’s Tele2 and including nine domestic companies, was awarded a dual GSM-1800/UMTS licence valid for 20-years. Third Luck intends to launch services by August, saying that it will offer services at tariffs as much as 50% cheaper than the current duopoly operators.