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The Maltese regulatory authority MCA has initiated procedures for the granting of rights-of-use of radio spectrum for up to three nation-wide 3G mobile (IMT-2000) networks and for up to three nation-wide broadband wireless access networks in the 3,5 GHz band.


The deadline for applications (entailing the completion of a simple form, a statement of preferred frequency ranges, the making of a non-refundable small application fee, and the submission of bank guarantees) for both procedures is 1 April 2005, 16:00 CET.


MCA is making available spectrum for three 3G operators (each operator will be entitled to use 2 x 19.8 MHz FDD and 1 x 5 MHz TDD for a period of 15 years). If three or less applications are received for 3G mobile spectrum,  then the bands will be assigned directly to the applicants in April 2005. In case the number of applications exceeds three, a beauty contest procedure will be organised, to which only the original applicants will be invited, leading to a selection of the operators in June/July 2005. Successful applicants (in the direct assignment or to be selected via the beauty contest) will have to post a performance guarantee relating to roll-out and coverage obligations, will have to make a one-off payment of 2.5 million Maltese Lira (€5.815m) and will have to pay a spectrum licence fee on an annual basis.


T-REGS Note: The annual spectrum fees for 3G mobile will vary from year to year over the period of 15 years, with 40% of the total amount over 15 years (total of €6.28m) falling due in the year 2007.  The table setting out the yearly payments can be found on page 31 of the MCA call for applications for 3G mobile.


As regards broadband wireless access in the 3,5 GHz band (which is suitable for equipment conforming to the emerging WiMAX specifications), MCA is making available spectrum for three operators (each operator will be entitled to use 24.5 MHz for a period of 15 years). If three or less applications are received,  then the bands will be assigned directly to the applicants in April 2005. In case the number of applications exceeds three, a beauty contest procedure will be organised, to which only the original applicants will be invited, leading to a selection of the operators in June/July 2005. Successful applicants (in the direct assignment or to be selected via the beauty contest) will have to post a performance guarantee relating to roll-out and coverage obligations, and will have to pay a spectrum licence fee on an annual basis of 20.000 Maltese Lira (€46520).


The full text of the call for applications for 3G mobile frequencies, including a sample licence, can be accessed by clicking here.


The full text of the call for applications for 3,5 GHz broadband wireless access frequencies, including a sample licence, can be accessed by clicking here.