|Third Generation Telecommunications Other European Administrations Licensing Plans - UACG(99)18|
An information paper on the plans of other European administrations for licensing 3G was suggested by UACG members at the March 1999.
2. The summary below is derived from publicly available information in the public domain. It is provided for information only and is not intended to form the basis for any investment decisions.
3. The UMTS Decision agreed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament requires Member States to "take all actions necessary in order to allow, in accordance with Article 10 of [the Licensing Directive], the co-ordinated and progressive introduction of the UMTS services on their territory by 1 January 2002 at the latest and in particular shall establish an authorisation system for UMTS no later than 1 January 2000". The Decision provides for the possibility of a Member State being granted a derogation of 12 months only on the grounds of difficulties with clearing the spectrum, and conditional on application for the derogation being made by 1 January 2000.
4. The UK was the first Member State to consult on the introduction of 3G with the publication in July 1997 of Multimedia Communications on the Move. The position in other Member States is understood to be as follows:
Position in EU Member States
5. Expected to publish proposals for consultation in May, with award of licences in 2000. Expect to award fewer than five licences, for technical and economic reasons.
6. No proposals published, but not expected to have difficulties with complying with Decision timetable. Understood to favour granting a licence to a new entrant. Have experience of auctions and so would expect to auction 3G licences.
7. No proposals published, but not expected to have difficulties with complying with Decision timetable. Denmark mandated roaming on a commercial basis to facilitate entry in 2G market. The Danish regulatory authority is preparing a report for the Danish government on a licensing procedure. They are currently proposing to allocate through public tender. No final decisions have been made but are looking at issuing 3 to 5 licences (4 existing operators) of 15 20 years duration.
8. The Finnish Government granted 4 national licences valid for 20 years on 18 March 1999. Proposals for licensing by comparative selection were published end November 1998. There were 16 initial applicants of which 2 withdrew. The selection criteria stated by the Finnish government were applicants financial resources, reliability and safety of operation, quality and technological development of services, and competitive framework. Licences were granted to Radiolinja, of which the principal owner is Helsingin Puhelinyhtio, Sonera (majority state owned), Suomen Kolmegee, formed by regional telecommunications companies and Telia Mobile (Swedish ownership). Finland did not specify standard to be used and one applicant proposed use of cdma2000. This application was withdrawn and resubmitted as part of the successful bid by a consortium of regional telecommunications companies which proposed UMTS. The licences do not include a final position on technology to be used as these will be determined by international standardisation decisions (IMT 2000) but all successful applicants proposed UMTS.
9. Government have said that they intend to comply with the timetable in the UMTS Decision by publishing authorisation procedure by 1 January 2000 but not necessarily awarding licences until first quarter 2001. They are currently undertaking public consultation on wide range of 3G issues with responses due by 28 May. They propose to issue 4 licences. France is known to have difficulty clearing the bands across the country and they may only be able to authorise 3G services in limited geographical areas until the current users are relocated. France has not used auctions up to now and are not expected to do so for 3G. French Telecommunications law requires the Government to take account of both technical capability and financial capability of licence applicants.
10. Published "key elements for UMTS licensing" on 4 November 1998 with comments invited by 15 January 1999. Comments are now being analysed. Proposed timetable sees award proceedings commencing in mid-1999 with licence award in late 1999. 3G is seen as a new product market, different from GSM. The Government appears to favour national rather than regional licences. The document suggests letting the market decide how many licences should be awarded by allowing bidders to buy units of 5MHz. Germany has said they may offer between 4 to 6 licences but no final decisions have been made. They are proposing licences valid for 20 years, with a roll-out obligation of coverage of 50% of the population within three years of licence award. The German Telecommunications Act gives preference in principle to auctioning and indications are that the Germans see no overwhelming regulatory aims which would lead to a beauty contest instead.
11. No proposals published. Uncertain position on compliance with timetable.
12. Have only recently licensed DCS 1800 operators so are some way from having proposals for 3G. Not expected to have problems with complying with Decision timetable.
13. No proposals published. Understood to be having difficulties with band clearance. They are likely to postpone licensing procedures for at least a year. Existing operators still completing DCS 1800 networks. The Government may assign some limited spectrum in selected Italian cities for trials. Italy is expected to license by comparative selection, and not by auction.
14. No proposals published, but not expected to have difficulties with complying with Decision timetable.
15. Published a consultative document in July 1998 and held a public hearing on the responses on 22 September. Responses from the five incumbents and 12 other bodies supported 4 national licences each with 2x15MHz paired spectrum, and with voluntary roaming on to 2G networks. Currently proposing to start licensing procedure in August 1999 for an auction which is not expected to be held before first quarter 2000. Licences likely to be valid for 15 years with a possible 5 year extension. May consider steps to encourage a new entrant (such as reserving a licence. There has been little interest to date, possibly because the auction for DCS1800 licences was only completed in March 1998.
16. Regulatory authority has stated that Portugal intend to comply with the Decision timetable but have yet to formulate proposals on number and terms of licences.
17. No proposals published.
18. Sweden published preliminary proposals in February for comment by 1 April. Expect to start licensing process in Spring 2000. They are proposing a maximum of 3 national licences and are also considering offering regional licences to encourage coverage in areas of low population density. Possibly 3 or 4 in each region and no bar on any one operator winning licences in all regions. Selection will be by competitive bidding as domestic legislation does not allow for auctions. Licences will be for 2x15MHz paired + 5MHz unpaired, though the spectrum may not have been vacated by other users until 1 January 2005. Sweden may initially issue just 2 licences and review position in 3 to 4 years. They have not ruled out a new entrant at that time if justified by demand and competitive situation (Sweden has one of the highest mobile network tariffs in Europe). Licences will be for 15 years, but will be liable to forfeit if it is clear by 1 January 2004 that they cannot be used effectively.
Other (non EU) Europe
19. The national regulatory authority is preparing a report for Government on proposed terms and conditions with the aim of establishing these by December 1999. Intend to license by 1 January 2002. Looking at awarding 3-4 licences and the mandating of roaming. Selection is likely to be by open public hearing on selection criteria followed by a tender procedure.
20. Expect to launch public consultation shortly in order to reach decisions in mid 1999. Looking to define licensing process in first half of year 2000 with licences awarded in second half of year 2000. Keeping an open mind about merits of auctions and beauty contests and mandating of national roaming.
Radiocommunications Agency Auction Team
7 May 1999