Kyivstar denied 3G licence again

18 Jul 2008

The Kyiv Appellate Administrative Court has overturned the previous ruling of a district court which found in favour of awarding a 3G licence to Kyivstar, Ukraine’s largest mobile operator by subscribers. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database recorded that in January 2005 Kyivstar applied for a UMTS licence alongside rival cellco UMC (now MTS Ukraine) and state-run fixed line incumbent Ukrtelecom, but in December 2005 Ukrtelecom was the only company to receive a concession, with no formal tender. The government has repeatedly turned down further 3G licence applications on the grounds that the military holds the necessary wireless frequencies, but progress appeared to have been made in August 2007 when ministers cleared public funding for freeing up spectrum in the 2100MHz band. In December 2007 the District Administrative Court of Kyiv ordered the National Commission on Communications Regulation to grant a UMTS licence to Kyivstar, although the regulator disagreed with the decision, and its chairman, Volodymyr Zverev, sought cabinet backing to launch an appeal. According to GlobalComms, the state is unlikely to issue new 3G concessions until it has completed a partial privatisation of Ukrtelecom, but its sale attempts stalled in 2007, largely due to a lack of interest. A new auction is set to be launched before the end of 2008 for a 67.8% stake in the national PTO, which launched commercial W-CDMA mobile services in six cities in November 2007.