Macedonia’s telecoms regulator, the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC), has awarded a 3G licence to domestic mobile operator Cosmofon, reports the unit’s Greek parent Cosmote. The AEC called a tender for one concession to offer UMTS services in the country in November last year. The licence is understood to be worth EUR10 million (USD14.7 million) and will enable it to deploy a UMTS network supporting data speeds of up to 3.6Mbps using HSDPA technology. Cosmote says its Macedonian subsidiary has been allocated 2×15MHz plus 1×5MHz spectrum.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, at the end of September Cosmofon was the second largest of the country’s two cellular operators with 540,861 subscribers, a market share of 33.66%, behind market leader T-Mobile Macedonia (formerly MobiMak) with 1.066 million. A third player, Mobilkom (Macedonia), a unit of Mobilkom of Austria, was the sole bidder in the government’s auction of a third GSM mobile licence in December 2006. Its bid was approved two months later. Mobilkom offered EUR10 million (USD13 million) for the ten-year (renewable) licence. It launched services in September 2007 under the banner VIP Mobile via a national roaming deal signed with T-Mobile. The newcomer is offering flat-rate pre-paid plans through more than 2,000 retail outlets across the country. Its ‘Edna ama vredna’ (one price only) pre-paid tariff provides users with anytime, cross-network pre-paid calls for MKD7.70 (USD0.18) per minute. Customers must also pay MKD200 for their first SIM card, which includes MKD200 worth of airtime.