According to Macedonia’s telecoms regulator, the Macedonia Agency for Electronic Communications (AEK), six companies have expressed an interest in bidding in the country’s forthcoming auction of a fourth GSM operating licence. The AEK says that four of those looking to take part are foreign concerns and two local; it declined to provide any further details. Under the regulator’s licensing conditions, the successful operator will be required to launch within six months of receiving its concession and provide network coverage to 30% of the population in the first year. By the end of the second year coverage must reach 50% of the population, rising to 90% by the end of year four.
Macedonia is home to three mobile operators, writes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database: T-Mobile Macedonia (formerly MobiMak), Cosmofon (owned by OTE unit Cosmote of Greece) and new market entrant, Mobilkom, which is backed by Mobilkom Austria and won its concession earlier this year. At the end of December 2006 Macedonia had 1.417 million mobile users, a mobile penetration rate of 69.7%.