T-2, Si.Mobil confirmed as new 3G licensees; Mobitel denied extra UMTS spectrum

28 Sep 2006

Slovenia’s Agency for Post and Electronic Communication (APEK) has this week confirmed that Si.Mobil and T-2 will join the country’s largest cellco Mobitel as 3G network operators. Si.Mobil, Slovenia’s second largest mobile operator, won its 15-year UMTS licence with a bid of SIT1.55 billion (EUR6.5 million), while T-2 offered the minimum SIT1.5 billion (EUR6.3 million). Domestic fixed line and broadband provider T-2 said it plans to begin constructing an UMTS network as soon as possible after signing supplier contracts. Mobitel also offered the minimum price for a 3G concession, aiming to gain extra frequencies, but had its bid rejected by the regulator on the grounds that it was not in line with the public tender conditions. APEK director Tomaz Simonic said: ‘It makes sense that Mobitel’s bid was rejected… If an operator who already has an UMTS licence gains further frequencies, there will be no competition,’ adding that APEK’s actions will ensure an equal playing field for all UMTS operators, and that the two new 3G entrants will be subject to the same conditions regarding rollout and coverage as Mobitel.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Mobitel, a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Telekom Slovenije, bought its W-CDMA licence in November 2001 for SIT22 billion (USD87 million at the historical exchange rate). It was allocated 2×15MHz (paired) in the ranges 1965MHz-1980MHz and 2155MHz-2170MHz, and 1×5MHz in the 1900MHz-1905MHz range. It launched commercial 3G services in December 2003, and by the end of June 2006 reported 48,307 3G users out of a total GSM customer base of 1.28 million; Si.Mobil had 392,700 GSM subscribers at end-June.