According to reports in business daily Ziarul Financiar, Orange Romania – the country’s largest cellular operator by subscribers – will commence the rollout of a 3G 900MHz network in Q1 2011. Citing comments made by an unnamed Orange Romania representative, the business daily suggests that the operator will launch 3G services on a city-by-city basis. In February 2010, inspired by a European Commission directive from Autumn 2009, regulator the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) agreed to Orange Romania, Vodafone Romania and Cosmote Romania using the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands that had previously been reserved for GSM communications. The operators’ licences were duly amended to reflect the new decision, and the respective operators agreed to protect any existing GSM networks operating in both those and any adjacent bands. Vodafone Romania became the first operator in the country to make use of the newly available spectrum, when it launched its own 900MHz 3G network in April 2010.
Speaking in February to confirm the regulatory shift that allowed the country’s operators to utilise the 900MHz frequency band, Catalin Marinescu, president of ANACOM, stated: ‘This measure comes as a result of the regulatory authority’s declared intention to promote the development of broadband electronic communications in Romania. Together with the CDMA licence granted by ANCOM in 2008 and the future review of the local loop usage regime, the liberalisation of the frequency spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands could contribute to increasing the penetration of broadband internet access’.