Mobile operators ignore 3G tender

All three Czech mobile operators said on Tuesday they would not participate in the repeated first round of tender for third-generation mobile phone licences, citing high price and other tough conditions. None of the three Czech mobile phone operators handed in a new bid for 3rd-generation mobile network licences after the Czech Telecommunications Office cancelled the first round of the tender earlier this year and called for the operators to submit new offers. The operators refused to pay 6.7 billion CZK or nearly 200 million USD for a licence. However, the government already included the expected proceeds from the sale of three licences in this year's state budget. The Telecommunications Office then softened the payment conditions but is still asking the same price, which the Czech operators say is unacceptable. The operators hope to obtain the licences in an auction slated for November when the prices are expected to go down. The Czech Republic, with a population of 10.3 million, has almost six million mobile users, which is the highest percentage among Central and East European countries.