Moldovan watchdog, the National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI) has awarded three operating licences in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands to domestic incumbent Orange Moldova. The three new technology-neutral authorisations are valid for 15 years, and will be effective from 6 November. In a press release, the regulator noted that the decision was taken in accordance with a spectrum management programme for 2013-2020, under which the expiration date of all mobile licences issued to network providers operating in the Republic should be synchronised. The regulator decided to initiate the synchronisation process in order to ensure fair competition in the market, and to create the necessary conditions for the implementation of technological neutrality. TeleGeography notes that on 26 February 2013 the watchdog granted Orange a 20-month provisional mobile licence, just days before its licence was due to expire (7 March); the technology-neutral licensing regime will be introduced for all operators on 5 November 2014, after the concessions held by Moldtelecom (Unite) and Moldcell expire.
Orange Moldova has already paid the required fees, which totalled MDL25.5 million (USD15.16 million). ANRCETI director Gregory Varan said the authorisations will allow Orange to ramp up the capacity of its existing networks and expand the coverage of its 2G/3G broadband infrastructure, which in turn will facilitate the migration of consumers to more advanced services – 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G in the future. ANCETI noted that the remaining licences in the aforementioned bands will be issued to cellcos Moldcell and Moldtelecom, once all the relevant fees have been paid by the two operators. Moldcell will be awarded 2×10MHz in the 800MHz band, 2×10MHz in the 900MHz band, and 2×25MHz in the 1800MHz band, while Moldcell will be issued two authorisations, namely 2×5MHz in the 900MHz band and 2×25MHz in the 1800MHz spectrum bands.