Ukraine’s 3G auction cancelled, regulator confirms

1 Dec 2009

Ukraine’s National Communications Regulation Commission (NCRC) has confirmed that it has cancelled a 3G mobile network operating licence auction which had been scheduled for 30 November 2009. The news was expected, following Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko decree issued 20 October suspending a previous government resolution to go ahead with the conversion of UMTS frequencies held by the military, on the basis of security concerns. Three domestic operators had qualified to bid for a single licence including a 25MHz block of spectrum in the 2.1GHz band, with a duration of 15 years and a reserve price of UAH400 million (USD49 million), whilst the NCRC had said that three more concessions with smaller blocks of spectrum would be auctioned in the near future. Kyivstar, MTS Ukraine, URS (Beeline) and Astelit had all indicated their interest in acquiring a licence. There are hopes for the licensing process to get back on track soon, however, as CommsUpdate reported earlier this month that Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers had passed a new procedure for the conversion of military-held frequencies in the 2.1GHz band. The interference from Yushchenko is the latest move in a long-running series of presidential actions to scupper the plans of his political rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, including the cancellation of several high-profile privatisation programmes.