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A new proposal of payment for UMTS licenses will be delivered to operators today

16.10.2001 9:31
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CTU, the telecom-sector regulator, will today deliver to mobile operators a new proposal of payment for UMTS licenses (again at a fixed price of CZK 6.7 bil. per license). If last week’s media reports were accurate, the proposal should offer options for (i) a payment of CZK 5.025 bil. this year and the rest over the next 10 years, or (ii) a payment of CZK 3.35 bil. this year and the rest spread over 5 years. Given that this does not represent much improvement over the original offer (CZK 3.7 bil. this year and CZK 3.0 bil. next year), we expect the Czech operators to reject the offer (e.g. RadioMobil and Cesky Mobil are not willing to pay more than CZK 1 bil. for a license). The licenses would then be offered in an auction. The operators will likely respond to the proposals later in the week. If the improvement is indeed as marginal as reported last week, acceptance of the new offer by the operators could harm the telecom stocks, and a rejection could be seen as neutral-to-positive news.

It also looks likely that the cellular operators would abstain from the subsequent auction of the three UMTS licenses, in which the opening price would be again CZK 6.7 bil. Given that interest in the auction from outside the country is unlikely, the tender may finish without the licenses being awarded and may have to be repeated again, with new conditions. This would be positive for the operators since a lower license price would be likely in this scenario.

(Ondrej Datka)

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