3G licensing mooted for autumn; plan now for three licences?

8 Apr 2010

Ukraine’s National Commission for Communications Regulation (NCCR) is planning to hold an auction for three 3G mobile licences this autumn, reports local daily Delo. Contrary to earlier reports that the NCCR intended to sell one licence every six months, alternative plans have been announced by the newly appointed head of the Commission, Vladimir Oliynyk. He gave the view that the simultaneous issuance of three concessions will avoid unfair competitive situations feared by some of the country’s mobile operators, including Kyivstar, MTS-Ukraine and Astelit. The regulator is currently engaged in the development of technical documentation for the conversion of UMTS frequency bands from military to civilian use, a process that reportedly continues to be hampered by a stand-off between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the NCCR over the cost of converting frequencies. According to Oliynyk, the amount requested by the MoD – UAH2.5 billion (USD321 million) – is unacceptable, as he stated that funds raised from the licence auction would be unlikely to cover the cost of conversion. Meanwhile, state-run Ukrtelecom remains the country’s sole UMTS licensee.