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 Finlands 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 Forums 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
Now that this historic precedent has been set in Finland, we look forward
to further rapid developments in the third generation licensing process
Dr Eylert also expressed his support for Finlands 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 Finlands decision to instead select operators
that are best qualified to deliver services meeting the needs of the
It is anticipated that first 3G networks will open for business in 2002,
providing a broad range of content-rich mobile multimedia services.