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March 19th 1999

UMTS FORUM WELCOMES FIRST EUROPEAN 3G LICENSE AWARDS - Finland opts for four national third-generation operators
March 19th 1999: - Cross-industry group The UMTS Forum has welcomed news of the announcement yesterday [March 18th] that Finland has become the first country in the world to award licences for operation of third-generation [3G] mobile telecommunications networks.
The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications has awarded four national licences to telecommunications operators Radiolinja, Sonera and Telia Mobile, plus the Finnish 3G Consortium [Suomen Kolmegee], comprising 41 regional telecommunications companies of the Finnet group.
All licenses are valid for 20 years and take immediate effect. The groundbreaking decision to appoint four national 3G operators paves the way for Finland’s administration to allocate 2 x 15 MHz paired frequency spectrum plus an additional 5 MHz unpaired spectrum per operator. This approach is in line with the recommendations of the UMTS Forum as highlighted in its fifth report, Minimum Spectrum Demand per Public Terrestrial UMTS Operator in the Initial Phase, first published in 1998.
The successful Finnish applicants - all members of the UMTS Forum - based their license applications on a likely choice of air interface technology that is supported by members of the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project). The UMTS Forum’s own preference is for a single radio interface, creating competition on the basis of services that is to the benefit of customers.
Congratulating the successful licensees, UMTS Forum Chairman Bernd Eylert commented:
”Now that this historic precedent has been set in Finland, we look forward to further rapid developments in the third generation licensing process across Europe.”
Dr Eylert also expressed his support for Finland’s decision to award 3G licenses to operators on a ”best qualified” basis rather than as the result of an auction-style contest:
”In the Forum we have consistently advocated an licensing process that favours operators who can demonstrate the best blend of resource, technological capability and competitive advantage rather than those with the deepest pockets.#&148;
”License auctioning can carry a potential risk of driving up costs to end-users, and we welcome Finland’s decision to instead select operators that are best qualified to deliver services meeting the needs of the market.”
It is anticipated that first 3G networks will open for business in 2002, providing a broad range of content-rich mobile multimedia services.


 
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