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Bulgaria's telecom watchdog shedules new mobile license auctions

Date: 28.10.2008

The Bulgarian communications regulator has set dates for new tenders for a fourth and a fifth mobile operator licenses, chairperson Vesselin Bozhkov said.

The regulator will auction off one band of frequency on December 10, with the second auction to follow on December 17. Tender papers will be available for purchase until November 24.

Bozhkov said that two or three companies had expressed interest in the tender, but declined to name them until they have bought documents.

“I’m afraid the ongoing financial crisis will generate weaker interest because a licence requires fresh cash, but then only serious players will show up,” he said.

Liechtenstein-registered Telco AG, which was the only bidder at the previous procedure, is reported to be interested again.

Krassimir Stoychev, executive director of local WiMAX telecom operator Max Telecom, voiced doubts the tender will attract any big company, but vowed to buy papers.

This will be the regulator’s second attempt at handing out idle frequencies after the July 29 procedure was cancelled for drawing a single bidder with bad paperwork.

The Bulgarian mobile services market - split between Mobiltel, Globul and Vivatel - topped 2.1 billion leva in 2007, making up 61 per cent of the total revenue on the telecoms market, according to regulatory data.

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