ICP opens public tender for UMTS licenses

/ Updated on 24.01.2008

The public tender opens for the granting of four third generation mobile licences of national scope to IMT2000/UMTS operators is already open. Bids should be submitted to the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal (ICP) before 4:00pm on the 29th September 2000. The licences will be subject to both the payment of an 'entrance fee' to the state, and to limitations regarding company shareholding. The licences will be granted before the end of the year, enabling trading to commence on 1st of January 2002.

The third generation mobile will enable the supply of multimedia services, with high quality and capacity for video transmission through portable terminals. It therefore opens the doors to convergence with other technologies, with transmission as high as 2 Mbit/s, enabling mass access to new content.

The UMTS - Universal Mobile Telecommunications System is the European version of the global family of technical standards for third generation mobile communications, the IMT 2000 - International Mobile Telecommunications. With considerable technological advances it is the successor to the second generation (GSM and DCS) and first generation (mobile analogue communications) systems.

Bidders should submit valid bids by 29th September 2000, and provide ICP with certain details, with special emphasis on the technical and the economic-financial projects. For this purpose bidders should provide a detailed proposal of their technical plan, which should include, among other criteria, the coverage plan, planning and development of the system and the quality standards of the service. It should also include an economic-financial plan which emphasises the following: market development forecasts, the strategic plan, conditions of provision of roaming, range of services, pricing policies, marketing channels, and sources of finance, among others.

Bids will be evaluated, by priority and successively, with basis on the following criteria: their contribution to the information society, their contribution to efficient market competition; the quality of the technical plan, including conditions for sharing of infrastructures; the quality of the economic-financial plan; and the contribution to the development of sustained economic activity.

There will be limits on the licensed operators' shareholding, in order to guarantee diversity of company ownership and efficient market competition. Therefore, no shareholding body of a licensed operator will be authorised to hold more than 10% of the capital of another licensed operator, either directly or indirectly. In cases where licences are granted, any company that finds itself in this situation should relinquish its position within a year after granting of the licence.

None of the three current operators licensed for GSM and DCS technologies will have automatic access to a IMT2000/UMTS licence. However, in accordance with the regulations of the tender, bids that account for the provision of national roaming between third and second generation systems will be at an advantage.

The licences will be valid for 15 years and require the payment of a fee of 20,000 million escudos.

Third mobile generation systems will have to cover at least 20% of the national population by the end of the first year in which the licence is in force, 40% by the end of the third year and 60% by the end of the fifth year.

The tender is for 2x15MHz of shared spectrum in the 1920-1980 MHz / 2110-2170 MHz bands and 5 MHz of non-shared spectrum in the 1900-1920 MHz band, for each one of the licences.

The UMTS will enable the adaptation of most multimedia services already provided by the fixed Internet, as well as the creation of innovative services rendered favourable by the mobility and portability of the equipment. The provision of information and entertainment services, from carrying out commercial and banking transactions, to consultation of gates and sites, videoconferencing, telemedicine and teleeducation are only a few examples.

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