Cellcos unhappy with cut-price licence fee

7 Apr 2008

Cellular operators in Romania have been angered by government proposals to offer a cut-price licence for services in the 450MHz band. A report from The Diplomat in Bucharest quotes the country’s Minister of Communications, Karoly Borbely, who says: ‘We want another mobile operator who can help Romania increase the usage of mobile telecom services especially in the countryside, by providing services at low prices.’ But the decision has been blasted by existing cellcos which claim the EUR1 million (USD1.57 million) licence fee will be up to 50 times lower than the fees they paid for their own concessions. Richard Moat, CEO of Orange Romania, questioned why there is a ‘huge discrepancy between the cost of the 3G licence and the cost of this licence’. The government has defended the concession’s low cost, saying that it may impose conditions requiring network rollouts in rural areas which currently have poor coverage.