UMTS auction conditions: no change

The Czech Telecommunications Office has released the conditions for a planned auction of the 3rd-generation mobile network licenses which should be awarded by December 14. The only condition concerning the launch of UMTS services is that commercial UMTS services must achieve 90-percent coverage of the Czech capital Prague by January 2005. The Telecommunications office suggested that the initial price will be set at 6.7 billion Czech crowns per licence, the same price as the office repeatedly requested in public tenders for the licences but which all the three Czech mobile phone operators refused to pay. In their reaction to the latest offer, the operators once again indicated that the price was too high. Experts therefore expect the three Czech operators to skip the auction and do not foresee any outside interest at this price.