Albania to award third 3G licence by February 2012

22 Dec 2011

Albania’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology has announced plans to award a third 3G concession by February 2012, reports local news source Scan-TV. The decision was made with the intention of reducing end-user prices and a tender is due to be launched shortly. Regulatory authorities in Albania have come under fire in the past for their approach to 3G licencing: all four wireless operators, Vodafone Albania, Albania Mobile Communications (AMC), Eagle Mobile and PLUS Communications opposed the auction for the first, single concession, instead favouring multiple simultaneous authorisations. The telecoms watchdog, Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications (AKEP), paid little heed to the protests, and Vodafone went on to win the de facto 3G monopoly in November 2010 with a bid of EUR31.4 million (USD43.79 million), more than twice the EUR12.5 million price tag. The 3G segment caught its first glimpse of liberalisation the following September, when AMC secured the second licence for USD21.3 million. PLUS Communications has been the most vociferous proponent of a fully liberalised sector, and in late September it accused AKEP of worsening conditions for competition by creating a duopoly. It maintained its position that an open market would improve the quality of services, and ensure affordable prices to customers.