As part of an initiative to attract more investment in the broadband internet sector, Cyprus’ telecoms regulator the OCECPR says it will auction WiMAX licences next year. ‘Our duty is to create the right environment for fair competition so that every household gets access to broadband and wireless services,’ the watchdog said at the presentation of a wide-ranging report on the telecoms sector. It added that it aims to reverse the digital gap between urban and rural areas, addressing the current situation where the bulk of broadband connections are only available in major towns. The regulator is currently in the process of dividing the island into different zones for licensing purposes, ahead of an auction for fixed wireless access concessions scheduled for the second half of 2007, with new operators expected to launch services in 2008.
The OCECPR reported that fixed line incumbent Cyta maintained its dominance in the wireline market with a 94% share of local telephony customers at the end of June 2006, with the remaining 6% shared between OteNet, Telepassport and PrimeTel. Cyta’s share of the international calls market was 81.3% at that date, whilst it held a 62% market share in the internet access sector, with ISPs including OteNet, Avacom, PrimeTel and Spidernet splitting the remaining 38%. PrimeTel, which launched ADSL2+ connections for residential and business users in April 2006, is Cyta’s sole rival in the broadband market, and the incumbent held onto 98.2% of high speed internet subscribers by end-September 2006.