Albania’s Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications (AKEP) announced yesterday that it plans to sell a second 3G licence with an initial price set at EUR12.5 million (USD18.3 million). The first 3G concession was sold in November 2010 to Vodafone Albania for EUR31.4 million (USD43.79 million), more than double next nearest bid from Eagle Mobile of EUR12.6 million. In September 2010, the government ignored concerns that a single licence would create a monopoly, despite a request from all four mobile network operators that four cheaper licences be awarded. After criticising mobile network operators for high tariffs earlier this year, the Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, hopes that the second 3G licence will reduce prices and encourage internet usage.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the only current holders of a 3G licence, Vodafone Albania had a market share of 36% at the end of March 2011, with 1.6 million subscribers, compared to Albanian Mobile Communication with 46% and Eagle Mobile’s 18%.