Vodafone has secured Albania’s first 3G licence by offering EUR31.4 million (USD43.79 million), more than twice the EUR12.5 million price tag set by the Albanian telecoms regulator AKEP. Vodafone’s offer beat its Turkish-owned rival Eagle Mobile’s bid of EUR12.6 million. AKEP’s Offer Assessment Commission evaluated Vodafone’s offer with the full 100 points, while Eagle Mobile garnered 46 points. Once the five-day limit for complaints expires, Vodafone will be officially declared the winner of the licence by the government.
In September this year Vodafone and Eagle Mobile joined ranks with Greek-owned Albanian Mobile Communications (AMC) and wireless newcomer Mobile 4 AL (Plus) to urge the government to review its plans to issue a single licence. They argued – unsuccessfully – that in the interest of competition, it would be preferable for the government to award four concessions. The government has not yet said when it plans to award additional 3G licences.
According to Telegeography’s GlobalComms Database, as the winner of the 3G licence Vodafone will be required to ensure network coverage of 35% of the territory within six months of licensing, rising to 65% in twelve and 85% in 18 months. It will be required to pay for the licence within seven days and launch commercial services within two months of the licence award. Annual payments of around ALL23.05 million (USD232,000) will be liable for spectrum usage.