MOSCOW—Third-generation (3G) licenses will be issued in Russia only after the law on communications is amended, according to First Deputy Communications Minister Yuri Pavlenko.
“The 3G Association has carried out the necessary research and prepared the required documents. However, the legislative base for the introduction of the new wireless technology and the 3G licensing rules can be determined only after amendments to the communications law are passed.” he said.
The Prime-Tass business news agency reported that the lower house of parliament is likely to consider the amendments under the first reading by 1 July. To become a law, the amendments have to pass four readings in the lower house, be approved by the upper house and signed by the president.
The 3G Association proposed to hold license tenders for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) technology in two stages. The first one includes applications from all those willing and is aimed to assess the potential market. The second stage is to determine the licensees.
In contrast to the current practice, where licenses are provided for each of the 89 Russian regions, 3G licenses are likely to be issued for seven major territories that unite regions of the Volga, northwest, central Russia, the south, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. They will be valid for 10 to 15 years, which is believed to be enough to recoup investments.
Russian carriers MTS, Vimpelcom and Megafon have already launched trial UMTS network fragments.