Vodafone Denied 3G Network Delay
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STOCKHOLM (AP) _ Swedish regulators on Monday denied a request from Vodafone Sweden for a two-year delay in the deadline for construction of its third-generation mobile telephone network.
Sweden’s Post and Telecoms Agency said the operator’s argument for the delay until the end of 2005 was not convincing.
The PTS, which regulates the telecom industry in Sweden, earlier turned back a similar request from Orange SA. Orange had sought to push the construction deadline to 2006 and reduce the number of people that the network must cover by around 500,000.
In its petition, Vodafone said getting permission from local municipalities and the Swedish defense authority to erect its network masts was taking more time than expected.
But the agency said the operator, which is controlled by Vodafone Group PLC, should have anticipated the problems.
A third Swedish 3G licenseholder, Hi3G Access, is also seeking a delay. Hi3G, which, like Orange, does not currently offer services in Sweden, is owned by Hutchison-Whampoa Ltd. and Investor AB.
Sweden has set one of the most demanding 3G schedules in Europe. Each of the four licenseholders is required to complete a network that covers 99.9 percent of the country’s 8.9 million population by the end of 2003.
The high-speed 3G networks will provide new capacity and support faster services. Operators across Europe, though, have slowed the launch of 3G amid questions about demand for the new services and delays in the arrival of 3G phones.
Sweden’s regulators, though, have refused to back off the timetable that the operators accepted when they received licenses in late 2000.
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