President puts spanner in works of 3G licensing

23 Oct 2009

Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko has issued a decree overturning a previous decision to transfer certain radio frequencies suitable for 3G mobile applications from the military to commercial networks, citing national security reasons, Reuters reports. The move puts the country’s planned 3G licence auction next month in serious doubt, and is the latest in a long-running series of presidential actions to scupper the plans of Yushchenko’s political rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko; last month the president disallowed the long-planned privatisation of the Odessa Port chemical plant. According to the Kyiv Post, Yuschenko’s presidential decree No.834 dated 20 October 2009 has suspended a resolution by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (No.1119 dated 16 September 2009) obliging the telecoms regulator, the National Commission on Communications Regulation (NCCR), to auction UMTS mobile licences on the bands currently used by the Defence Ministry. The governmental resolution endorsed the conversion of the following frequency bands: 1920MHz-1935MHz, 1950MHz-1980MHz, 2010MHz-2015MHz, 2020MHz-2025MHz, 2110MHz-2125MHz and 2140MHz-2170MHz. The NCCR has scheduled for 30 November 2009 an initial auction for one 3G licence with 25MHz of spectrum in the 2.1GHz band, with a duration of 15 years and a reserve price of UAH400 million (USD49 million). State-run Ukrtelecom is currently the country’s sole 3G mobile licensee.