ECONOMY

CosmOTE: More spectrum

CosmOTE, Greece’s biggest mobile operator by customer numbers, said yesterday it was reviewing a plan by the government to sell an additional second-generation mobile phone spectrum that could boost its roaming revenues. Telecom regulator EETT has set a minimum bid of 38.16 million euros for the remaining GSM 2×5 MHz spectrum, due to be awarded at the end of July. «We are reviewing and examining documents for the bid but have made no decision yet,» a senior CosmOTE official said. He declined being named. Analysts said CosmOTE was the likeliest contender for the additional spectrum, although they did not rule out a bid from Greek IT firm Infoquest, owner of Greece’s still-inactive fourth second-generation mobile license. An Infoquest official said it was still too early to make a decision. «The spectrum we have is enough for our needs but we are examining the tender for possible participation,» said investor relations manager Apostolos Georgantzis. Infoquest paid 20 million euros for the license in a June 2001 auction of additional second-generation mobile licenses and high-speed third-generation licenses (UMTS). CosmOTE bought one of three UMTS licenses but was outbid for the GSM spectrum that would have enhanced its roaming revenues. CosmOTE’s competitors, Vodafone Panafon and Stet Hellas, bought additional spectrums to upgrade their existing networks, paying 115 million euros and 26 million euros, respectively. According to EFG Eurobank Securities, roaming currently accounts for about 3 percent of CosmOTE revenues, compared with 8 percent for Panafon and Stet Hellas. (Reuters) – Handymaxes stable.