Kosovo’s telecoms watchdog the Regulatory Authority for Post and Electronic Communications (ARKEP) has announced that, following an extensive analysis of spectrum resources and the requirements for high speed mobile broadband services, from 1 December 2013 wireless concessions will be technology neutral. Decision No. 400 will enable cellcos to use their existing frequencies to provide any service that can coexist with the current GSM platform, such as UMTS, WiMAX and Long Term Evolution (LTE). ARKEP noted that the decision formed part of its medium-term plan for the sector, dubbed ‘Digital Agenda 2013-2020’ which includes amongst its goals: further liberalisation of the market; the creation of conditions for effective competition, and; greater spectrum efficiency. ARKEP added the caveat that cellcos must continue to meet their 2G coverage requirements.
Slovenian-backed cellco IPKO announced shortly afterwards that it would launch 3G services as soon as the ruling comes into force, in December. News portal Telegrafi.com writes that IPKO carried out basic trials of the technology in June this year. The operator plans to have coverage of the busiest urban areas in the capital and the largest cities in the country at the time of launch. Meanwhile Vala, the wireless arm of incumbent Post and Telecommunication Kosovo (PTK) was ‘intensifying necessary technical preparations within the shortest possible time to start implementation of the [3G] project.’ A spokesperson for the state-backed firm added that the launch of 3G will not only meet growing demands from Kosovar mobile subscribers for better mobile internet access, but will also be a shot in the arm of the telco’s finances.