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Green light to Telefónica

THE TELECOM Bureau market regulator issued an operating licence to the Spanish firm Telefónica O2 Slovakia on Friday, officially making the firm the third mobile operator in the country after incumbents T-Mobile and Orange.

The Telecom Bureau's decision is not yet in force because Telefónica has the right to appeal the decision within 15 days.

The new operator obtained UMTS frequencies in the GSM 900 and 1800 MHz and FS 28/29 GHz bands earmarked for the operation of a public mobile network and data and multimedia services, the Hospodárske noviny daily wrote.

According to Martin Žabka, the spokesman of Telefónica O2 Česko, through which the Spanish firm is accessing the Slovak market, the terms of the licence must be approved by Telefónica’s board of directors.

The Telecom Bureau issued its decision only three days after the Austrian firm Mobilkom, an unsuccessful bidder in the tender for the licence, asked that the tender be repeated because of alleged irregularities.

Mobilkom threatened to take Slovakia to an international court, claiming that the tender commission was biased towards Telefónica. Another bidder, the B Four consortium, also filed a motion with the Attorney General’s Office against the tender procedure.

"Given that the law only says that members of the tender commission must be professionally qualified, it is possible to accuse anyone of being biased towards the winner," Milan Luknár, the chairman of the bureau, told Hospodárske noviny.

Telefónica intends to launch operations before the end of the year.

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