No Bidders for Bulgaria 4th Mobile Operator, Auction Fails

Business | November 28, 2011, Monday // 11:52| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: No Bidders for Bulgaria 4th Mobile Operator, Auction Fails Currently there are three mobile operators in Bulgaria - Mtel, Globul and Vivacom, all are foreign-owned. File photo by EPA/BGNES

The auction to grant a license for a 2 Ghz frequency mobile network, paving the way for the launch of a fourth mobile operator in Bulgaria, has failed to attract any bidders.

The country's communications regulator announced it has canceled the procedure since none of the prospective bidders paid the required participation deposit of BGN 2 M by the November 14 deadline.

The auction, which could have facilitated the launch of a fourth mobile phone license, was opened after 4G COM company applied for the 15-year license in July. The starting price was nearly BGN 50 M.

Six companies submitted applications for the UMTS license – the three mobile operators in Bulgaria - Mtel, Globul and Vivacom, Internet and cable TV operator Blizoo, 4G COM and Traxcom.

None of them however will submit a closed bid, which was expected to be done on Dec. 7

Experts say that the tender for Bulgaria's fourth operator was long overdue, but doomed because of the high penetration on the market and the high starting price.

Besides the winner of the license would not have been a typical mobile operator since the network is meant primarily for mobile internet.

The potential bidders were also driven away by the lack of a clause, which would allow the fourth player on market to borrow cells from its rivals and use them in sparsely populated regions, which its network does not cover, experts say.

Three years ago Bulgaria decided to launch a closed tender for frequencies with a national-wide coverage for GSM services, but the procedure was suspended after solely one company - TelCo - submitted a bid.

Currently there are three mobile operators in Bulgaria - Mtel, Globul and Vivacom, all are foreign-owned.

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Tags: 4G COM, regulator, telecoms, Bulgaria, mobile, phone, license, Mtel, Globul, Vivacom, Blizoo, Traxcom
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