Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
Minister of communications and informatisation of Belarus Nikolai Pantelei said that there's no need to privatize Beltelecom. "Beltelecom doesn't need it, at least not to draw in investments" - N. Pantelei told the journalists in Minsk.
"But if we take into account the perspective of Belarus entering WTO we will probably have to carry out demands to liberalize Belarusian telecommunications market. I don't exclude the possibility of privatizing Beltelecom" - he said.
Pantelei also has stressed that "This circumstances will force us to liberalize the market , but no stock sells are to happen".
Head of the Ministry of Communications and Informatisation of Belarus sees no reason in creating another cell operator in the country. Head of Ministry of Communications thinks that the competition in this market is high enough: this year, operators' coverage is over 90% of country's territory, with over 8,8 million subscribers.
"I think that the level of cell communications tariffs and coverage allows to speak about high competition factor on the market. I see no need in introducing another operator to the market" - the minister said.
Concerning developement of 3G in Belarus Mr. Pantelei has informed that"Life:)" operator will launch the service on commercial basis in October, 2009. "We still have the same volume of frequency resource, which may be allotted to two other operators" - Pantelei noted. The minister also brought attention to the matter of payment for allotment and usage of new frequencies. "No such fee existed earlier. I don't think that's right. Frequency resource is limited, and is a property of the state" - he stressed.
"Conditions of frequency distribution and licensing for 3G were defined by the contract of Turkish company "Turkcell" buying out "BeST"'s share." The minister specified that "The payment was made indirectly, it was put in the price for the share sold".
The minister added that "3G is introduced to Belarus so late not because we don't want it, but because we lack necessary frequencies". He noted that there will be less problems with introducing 4G, since these services are provided on the same frequencies GSM voice services use - 1800 MHz.
"Perhaps someone will invest in 4G, someone will cooperate with another operator while using the operator's infrastructure" - N. Pantelei said.
The regulatory basis for competition for radiofrequencies is being developed in Belarus, Minister of Communications and Informatisation announced today. He noted that a state radiofrequency commission may decide if such a competition will happen. But there are no legislative acts concerning such events. "Such a document is already developed and is currently undergoing harmonization" - Pantelei added. His statement allows the creation of competition for the usage of radiofrequencies of 5690-5725 MHz range for broadband Internet access on Belarusian regions' territory."
"The decision for holding a competition for this frequency range isn't cancelled yet. We will settle this matter once we create the legislative base needed" - Pantelei said.
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