In a press release, mobile operator Orange Romania says it signed up 25,767 3G customers in three days after launching its W-CDMA network in Bucharest and Timisoara on 6 June. Orange Romania, which has invested EUR23 million (USD29 million) in the network so far, aims to expand 3G coverage to a further 16 cities by the end of this year. A company representative announced: ‘We expect to go past the level of 250,000 clients in December 2006. 3G operations would probably become profitable in about three years from now.’
The president of Romania’s General Inspectorate for Communications and Information Technology (IGCTI), Gabriel Mocanu, said that a decision regarding the launch of a tender for the country’s last two available W-CDMA licences would be made this week, adding that 31 August 2006 would be a realistic date for receiving expressions of interest from operators. Cellcos Telemobil (Zapp) and Cosmote Romania have already announced their intention to bid for the two concessions. While Zapp has offered 3G-like speeds for laptop users over its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network since October 2004, the country’s first full commercial 3G service was launched by MobiFon (Vodafone Romania) in late April 2005. MobiFon claimed 135,249 3G subscribers at the end of March 2006.