Telekom-Control: First step towards introduction of UMTS in Austria Telekom-Control startes Consolidation processPress release dated 15 June 1999 From 14 June till 13 September 1999 Telekom-Control is holding a public consultation on questions concerning the introduction and awarding of UMTS licences in Austria. UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System and is a new mobile communications system which will allow for considerably higher data rates than the current mobile communications systems, e.g. GSM. UMTS will combine mobile, cordless and paging functionalities. It will provide for data and multimedia services such as videotelephony or videoconferencing, audio/video on-demand and provide the market with new applications e.g. in electronic commerce. "By means of the consultation just started we would like to get into contact with telecom operators, manufacturers and all those interested in this topic in order to discuss essential questions of UMTS, e.g. frequency spectrum, licensing terms and the implications for the market", says Heinrich Otruba, Managing Director of Telekom-Control GmbH. Referring to the time schedule, Otruba says: "We will carefully examine the comments received on the consultation and publish them in autumn. Until 1 January 2000 we will establish the appropriate licensing procedures in line with EU requirements so that we will be able to award the UMTS licence at the turn of 2000/2001." Frequency band, auction options For the operation of UMTS a total of 155 MHz from different frequency bands between 1900 and 2170 MHz are available. Experts recommend that each operator should receive at least 2x15 MHz of paired spectrum and 5 MHz of unpaired spectrum, which would allow for four UMTS operators in Austria. The detailed procedure of how interested companies - among them both new and existing GSM operators - will auction for UMTS licences will be one of the results of this consultation. "Without wishing to anticipate a result, I would prefer determination by the market", says Otruba, suggesting possible auction options. It might be well possible that the market will determine how the available spectrum will be divided among the competitors. The consultation document of Telekom-Control on behalf of the Telekom-Control-Commission is accessible via the Internet at www.tkc.at.