Belarus Planning 3G Licnese Auction

It has been reported that Belarus is planning to award 3G licenses in the near future. The BBC Monitoring service, citing a report by the Belapan news agency said that new entrants to the market would be allowed to bid for the licenses.

According to Henadz Tsaryk, a departmental chief at the communications ministry, "If there are such contenders that can create a network within an appropriate period, no problem,"

The ministry is expected to consider bids for the licenses before this December, although a formal timescale was not laid out.

According to figures from the Mobile World database, Belarus currently has mobile operators with the following market shares: MTS (52.8%), MDC (43.3%) and BeST with 2.7%. MDC was brought by Telecom Austria last year, and Turkcell is reported to be in talks to buy a stake in BeST.

Both MDC and MTS trialed 3G networks in Minsk during the summer of 2006, and MTS applied for a 3G license - but it does not appear to have been awarded.