The Russian government says it has received eleven applications for the three 3G licences on offer, with another offer expected to be confirmed soon. As expected, bids have been received from the country’s three main cellular operators, MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon. Applications have also been submitted by Network Telecommunication company (a consortium of smaller cellcos which includes Tele2 and SMARTS), Chelyabinsk Cellular Communications (which is a subsidiary of Tele2), SMARTS (bidding independently), New Telephone Company, Astelecom, Avrora-Telekom, Investelektrosvyaz and Summa Telecom. Prime Tass reports that a minor player known as Komtel Plus has also filed an application, although this has not yet been received by the regulator, the Federal Communications Agency. The results of the tender are expected to be announced on 20 April.
Meanwhile, Vimpelcom says that if its own bid succeeds it will invest between USD300 million and USD350 million on its 3G networks in 2007 and 2008. The spend will cover equipment costs and network rollout, but does not take into account the fees necessary for converting military wireless spectrum to civil use. Market leader MTS has already announced that it plans to spend USD200 million on its 3G network rollout if its bid is successful.