CORPORATE BRIEFS

Siemens Slovakia hopes to supply GSM 1800 MHz provider

German electronics firm Siemens Slovakia has said that it wants to be the supplier of the future provider of the GSM 1800 MHz mobile network in Slovakia. If a deal is signed between Siemens and the eventual provider, the firm said, Siemens will supply part of the GSM 1800 needs from its subsidiaries in Slovakia.

Siemens Bratislava Peter Kremský said that if his company were chosen over a foreign supplier, it could improve Slovakia's foreign trade balance and would also create 600 new jobs in affiliated Slovak companies.

"Siemens... is already connecting one in two calls on [Slovakia's] fixed telephone network and, on average, one in five calls in the mobile network is made from a Siemens mobile phone," Kremský said. He added that Siemens has been operating in Slovakia for more than five years and has brought more than 5 billion Sk in direct foreign investment to the country.

It is a common practice internationally when mobile network licenses are granted that existing or future investments of interested companies and their contractors in the country are taken into consideration. "It is logical that this trend would sooner or later come to Slovakia too, especially when Slovakia needs to increase the inflow of foreign investments," Kremský said.

Siemens employs 7,000 people in its eleven Slovak branches; the annual turnover of these firms is about 16 billion Sk, while annual investments equal one billion Sk.

This German company is one of the leading producers on the international information and communication market, in particular within the wide-band ATM networks or digital EWSD exchanges. Within mobile networks it is one of the two biggest infrastructure contractors, serving for example Telecom Italia Mobile, Mannesmann D2 in Germany and Paegas in the Czech Republic.

The Ministry of Telecommunications announced an international tender for a GSM 1800 MHz mobile network national license in mid-January. The tender will have two rounds (a qualification and an auction round), and the license should be awarded by April 30. The new operator will be expected to launch commercial operations by the end of the year and will have a four-year exclusive right to opeate a national GSM 1800 network in Slovakia.

Bidders are expected to submit their bids by March 31. The bidder must be a corporation established specifically to operate a GSM 1800 mobile network. At least 34% of the company must be controlled by domestic entities.

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