More Options. Customers will have another mobile phone operator to choose from this year.
photo: Courtesy of EuroTel
The first attempt was cancelled by then-Transport Minister Ján Jasovský who stated that neither of the applicants, Telenor GSM a.s nor Tatrytel a.s., had met the stated requirements for the bid. "Regarding the fact that it was impossible to announce a winner of the tender and grant the respective license, I decided to conclude it and prepare a new international tender," Jasovský stated.
According to Stanislav Vanek, regulatory department director of the Ministry, the last tender had been ill-prepared and rushed. "These tenders must be approached seriously and enough time must be given for serious evaluation," said Vanek, "Acceleration of the process only leads to mistakes."
Under new Minister Gabriel Palacka, the ministry is prepared to try again. On Friday, January 15, the Ministry released the conditions of the new tender via the Internet. All companies able to meet the requirements of the tender are invited to bid.
"The basic fee for the tender will be 10 million USD," Vanek told The Slovak Spectator on January 15. "Of course, if the bid goes to auction, the sum could be higher."
According to the tender conditions, bidders will be evaluated on four criteria (see box, this page). Vanek stressed that point A, documented proof of financial credibility and point C, technical know-how and experience in the mobile telephone market, were of particular importance.
Vanek also listed various deadlines as important to the tender process. "All bids must be submitted by March 31, 1999. Our evaluation of the bids will be completed by April 15. If, at that time, more than one operator has met our qualifications, the tender will be decided by means of an auction to be held on April 16." Vanek concluded by saying that, "the license will be issued on April 30 and the winner will be obliged to begin operation by the end of this year."
Three's a crowd?
With the impending entrance of a new competitor, neither Globtel GSM nor EuroTel Bratislava, the two companies which currently constitute the mobile telephone market, are concerned that business will slow down. In fact, Chris Mattheisen, director of marketing and sales for EuroTel, says that "Competition will help the market grow even further." Mattheisen's colleague, Jozef Heriban, EuroTel's director of public relations, also expressed no fear in a loss of revenue. "Globtel and EuroTel will be strong," he said and added that "we are looking forward to competing with a third company."
Pavol Lančarič, commercial director of Globtel, also expressed confidence in Globtel's future but added that the third company also stands to profit. "Their is an excellent opportunity for the third operator," Lančarič stated. "They will not, maybe, have a dominant place in the market, but they have a good chance. We do not want to underestimate the potential of the third operator."
The Ministry agrees that three operators in Slovakia is not an excess. Vanek stated that "it is difficult to predict how the market will behave. It will react in accordance with the economic situation of the country." He concluded optimistically by stating that, "the future of voice communication is in the field of mobile. Eventually it will be common technology."