RCS&RDS wants to become a 4G operator, says starting prices for telecom licenses are too high

Newsroom 14/03/2012 | 14:52

Telecom operator RCS&RDS announced today that it will participate in the bidding for telecom licenses that will see the allocation of spectrum for the next 15 years.

The operator said it is especially interested in spectrum in lower bandwidth of 800 MHz and 900 MHz, however it is taking into consideration others as well. “All the packages in the bidding are attractive. We will certainly want to acquire licenses for the lower frequencies of 800 MHz and 900 MHz. We will probably bid also for other licenses in the 1,800 MHz and 2,600 MHz. Our goal is to supply 4G services to our clients,” said Valentin Popoviciu, business development director in RCS&RDS.

The company official also said he finds prices for the telecom licenses proposed by the telecom regulator as too high. “The starting prices are too high. ANCOM (ed. note: telecom regulator in Romania) should encourage competition and leave prices at a lower level,” said Popoviciu.

“Romania is the most competitive market in Europe, with an ARPU that is indeed small in comparison to other European countries. However, when you compare the ARPU you should also compare the purchase power,” he said.

Licenses should be paid for in installments, not all at once, also said Popoviciu.

The operator complained that at this point it does not compete on an equal par with other companies since it does not have access to the frequency of 900 MHz.   “Because of this, our mobile data service does not have the same coverage as that of other operators,” said Popoviciu.

Popoviciu said that European regulations stipulate that, if there is an operator that does not have spectrum in 900 MHz, the authority must make an assessment and that operator must receive compensation. ANCOM is saying that the compensation measure is the bidding, but we do not believe it to be so. In France for instance, telecom operator Iliad received spectrum in the 900 MHz frequency after the spectrum was rearranged and it was taken from other operators.

The operator said it will continue to request compensation.

RCS&RDS invested approximately USD 1 billion into the development of the company’s network before 2010, but it will soon announce the latest financial results and investment figures.

RCS&RDS has operations on external markets in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Spain and Italy.
Otilia Haraga

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