See page 7 for the results of Ireland and Italy’s recent tenders.

Austria granted 900 MHz GSM licenses to Mobilcom, and Connect Austria, a consortium including Tele Danmark.

Recently formed Belgian wireless communications company KPN Orange Belgium N.V. was awarded the third license to build and operate a GSM 1800 MHz network in Belgium. The new company will pay a US$225.3 million license fee to the Belgian government and will invest more than US$559 million to build the new GSM network, said Orange plc. Products and services will be launched under the brand name Orange.

Colombia has published a decree defining auction terms for two PCS licenses to operate from September 1999, when current mobile operators’ exclusivity expires. A third license is expected to be awarded when new technology is developed.

Costa Rica is considering licensing the B-band cellular concession to the private sector. Currently, the government-owned Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) operates both the A-and B-bands, serving approximately 70,000 subscribers, with a waiting list of 15,000.

The company’s workers’ union has expressed concern about the sale, prompting declarations from the government that ICE will not be sold and that the resources obtained with the concession (estimated at US$150 million) would alleviate the large internal debt. Because the telecom sector was excluded from a recent concession law, an amendment to this law will have to be approved before the private sector is allowed into this sector.

Canadian company Sherritt International Corp. acquired a 37.5 percent interest in Cubacel, the only cellular operator in Cuba and owned by the country’s Ministry of Communications and private investors, according to Latin Trade. The transaction is valued at US$38.2 million.

Privatization of Croatia’s state-owned HPT will begin later this year. HPT is valued at between one US$1 billion and US$2 billion, and a sale of a 20-percent stake is planned through an IPO in late 1999. A second GSM 900 license is scheduled to be issued in September of this year to compete with the HPT-owned Cronet.

Honduras plans to privatize telecom company Hondutel during the fourth quarter of 1999 through the capitalization of a new company, Honducom S.A. An international operator is expected to gain management authority over the company through control of 47 percent of the company’s shares. Two percent would be offered to employees, with the remaining 51 percent held by the government, to be sold to the public over the medium and long-term. The concession would be for 25 years, with an eight-year monopoly built in.

Sonera, formerly Telecom Finland, acquired a 30-percent stake in Lithuania’s national telecom operator Lietuvos Telekomas in a privatization at the end of June.

The government of Nicaragua, as part of a readjustment program with the International Monetary Fund, will sell 100 percent of state-owned Empresa Nicaraguense de Telecomunicaciones. Eleven percent of shares would be made available to employees, and the remaining would be offered in international markets over a three-year period. The total sale is expected to bring in between US$250 to US$450 million, and the process is scheduled to be completed by February 1999.

The Romanian government is selling 35 percent of the national telco RomTelecom, valued at an estimated US$4 billion.

The Pakistani government has authorized state-run Pakistan Telecommunications Co. Ltd. to operate a cellular network, according to Reuters. It would operate along with three private cellular carriers.

In Peru, cellular operator Tele2000, owned by BellSouth International, won a B-band cellular concession to serve provinces outside Lima that include more than 17 million people. Currently, Tele2000 serves more than 136,000 mobile subscribers in the nation’s capital, competing with Telef


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