Slovakia to have fourth mobile operator by end-2013.

By bne IntelliNews February 21, 2013
A fourth mobile phone operator is expected to enter the Slovak market by the end of this year, Hospodarske Noviny daily reported. The country's telecommunications regulator 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. The regulator's spokesperson Roman Vavro told the daily that the licences are expected to be issued this year.

The 1,800MHz band can be allocated only to an operator, which is not currently active on the Slovak market. According to the spokesperson for the transport ministry, Martin Kona, the entry of a new operator would boost competition and thus lead to better prices and services on the market. The telecommunications regulator has been approached by a number of companies interested in entering the Slovak market, Vavro said, but declined to disclose any names.

Hospodarske Noviny, however, has named several companies, which have been mentioned by sector analysts as potential candidates - 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.

The three mobile firms that operate in Slovakia, Deutsche Telekom's Slovak Telekom, France Telecom's Orange and Spanish Telefonica's O2, have expressed interest to get a licence and build a 4G LTE network.

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