SmarTone only bidder for Macau's fourth 3G licence

6 May 2009

The Macau Daily Times reports that Hong Kong-based cellco SmarTone was the sole bidder for Macau’s fourth and final 3G mobile licence, after the territory’s Telecommunications Regulation Bureau (DSRT) launched a tender in March on the strength of demand for the service. There are over 230,000 3G service users representing over a quarter of the Macau subscription market, according to DSRT director Tou Veng Keong, who claimed that with 10,000 customers signing up for 3G services every month, the sector has room for a fourth licensee. The DSRT also believes that this move would bring in ‘positive competition’ to the market which could possibly lead to a reduction in service charges. The current number of 3G users represents a penetration rate of more than 40%, based on the population of approximately half a million. SmarTone CEO Alex Ip said that he expected to win ‘25% of the 3G market share’ and that his company is ‘ready to provide new and innovative services’. At the end of August the DSRT will announce whether SmarTone’s bid has been accepted. The eight-year licence comes with the obligation to launch services within a year of issue and to complete a network with comprehensive coverage of Macau within 15 months of launch.

Hong Kong, Macau, SmarTone