Ukraine’s National Commission on Communications Regulation (NCCR) has declined state-owned fixed line monopoly operator Ukrtelecom’s application for a CDMA 450MHz wireless in the local loop (WiLL) licence, a spokesperson for the regulator told news agency Prime-Tass yesterday. The spokesperson attributed the decision to ‘a lack of available radio technology in Ukraine’ for the particular spectrum applied for – the majority of existing WiLL operators are using the 800MHz band. In addition, the spokesperson said the CDMA-450 equipment might not work properly alongside existing radio equipment operating within the frequency band. Ukrtelecom applied for the licence in mid-2005; later that year it was awarded a 3G mobile operating licence but has not yet begun a network rollout.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the total CDMA WiLL subscriber base in Ukraine reached 135,000 at the end of March 2006, up from 116,000 at end-2005, and 100,000 at the end of June 2005. At that date the WiLL market leader was Velton Telecom with 65,000 subscribers. Although WiLL is proving popular, CDMA licensees are restricted to delivering fixed wireless services only and, despite the technical feasibility of modifying the concessions to render them fully ‘mobile’, opposition from GSM operators has prevented this happening. Moreover, the future of CDMA could be further jeopardised by plans to reallocate the 800MHz frequency band to digital television broadcasters from 2008.