Macau, China, 25 Oct – Telecommunications companies, Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau, Hutchison Telephone (Macau) and China Unicom were granted licenses by the Macau government for third generation mobile phone operations, officials said.
China Unicom won the CDMA200 1X EV-DO platform license, while CTM and Hutchison competed for the WCDMA platform.
Tou Veng Keong, director of the telecommunications Regulation Services, said that the service would be available on the market from the first quarter of 2007 and that the new operators would invest between 100 and 400 million patacas (US$12.5 and US$50 million) to implement the system.
With the concession of the new third generation licenses, the government of Macau, in 2009, will extend the GTM license granted to CTM and Hutchison only for a further two years, while Smart Tone’s license will be renewed for a further six years.
There are currently three GSM operators in Macau – CTM, Hutchison and Smart Tone – a CDMA operator – China Unicom – and a fixed line operator – CTM.
CTM is a subsidiary of UK company Cable and Wireless, which has a 51 percent stake in the company, while Portugal Telecom owns 28 percent, CITIC Pacific Ltd owns 20 percent with the remaining one percent in the hands of the government of Special Administrative Region of Macau.
At the end of August this year, Macau, with a population of around half a million people, had 175,847 fixed telephone lines and there were 623,173 active mobile phones. (macauhub)