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Continued Confusion Among European UMTS Licensees

Posted on Monday 24 May 2004

Spain’s Telefónica Móviles said it has opened its UMTS network starting today, but Britain’s mmO2 said it is trying to get regulators to soften the terms of its spectrum license.

Telefónica said it will launch services in Madrid and Barcelona today and will sell Sony Ericsson and Motorola handsets for €499. The launch marks the first availability of UMTS services in Spain, although Vodafone is expected to launch this week as well.

Meanwhile mmO2 CEO Sir Peter Erskine said he is lobbying UK regulators to extend the company’s spectrum license indefinitely beyond its expiration in 2021. “A lot of money [£22.5B] was paid for the 3G licences. We’d like to keep them for a fair old while, particularly as we are having to invest so much in the network,” he said in a Reuters story. A spokesperson for the regulators said, “We would need an exceedingly good reason why we should change the licences.”

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