Albania’s telecoms watchdog the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (Akep) has invited interested parties to bid for a third 3G concession by 24 February. The licence will authorise the use of 2×15MHz of paired spectrum in the 1950MHz-1965MHz and 2140MHz-2155MHz bands and an unpaired 5MHz spectrum block in 1910MHz-1915MHz range. Akep has set a minimum bid of EUR12.5 million (USD15.8 million) for the concession, the same amount stipulated in its previous 3G tenders. As with the existing 3G concessions, the licence requires that the operator’s network must achieve population coverage of 35% in the first six months, 65% within twelve months, and 85% in 18 months.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Akep awarded the nation’s first 3G licence to Vodafone in November 2010, with a second granted in June 2011 to Albanian Mobile Communications (AMC). Akep’s decision to issue concessions individually has been widely criticised by the country’s four cellcos, which have expressed their concern that single licences might encourage anti-competitive behaviour.