Orange sees entry of fourth mobile operator in Slovakia as unrealistic

By bne IntelliNews March 18, 2013
Slovakia's biggest mobile operator Orange, a unit of France Telecom, considers it unrealistic to expect the entry of a fourth mobile operator in the country, Telecom.paper news reported, quoting the company's CEO Pavol Lancaric as telling MobilMania.sk.

Slovakia's telecommunications regulator TUSR plans to hold an e-auction for awarding 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) licences in the available 800MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,600MHz frequency ranges this year and has stated that the 1,800MHz band can be allocated only to an operator, which is not currently active on the Slovak market.

But Lancaric said that the cost to build a LTE network is too high, at an estimated over EUR 100mn, which would prevent a new operator from entering the market. He added that network sharing could be an option, and Orange has been in talks over network sharing with the other two active mobile operators in the country - Deutsche Telekom's Slovak Telekom and Spanish Telefonica's O2. All three existing players have expressed interest to get a licence and build a 4G LTE network.

TUSR has said that it has been approached by a number of telecom companies interested in entering the Slovak market. The authority hopes that the entry of a new operator would boost competition and thus lead to better prices and services on the market.

According to a recent report by Hospodarske Noviny daily, companies that have been mentioned by sector analysts as potential new players on the Slovak market include PPF Mobile Services, a new project of the PPF investment group, belonging to Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, Vietnamese telecoms services provider Viettel, UK Vodafone, Indian Bharti Airtel and Japanese NTT Docomo.

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