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Hungary introduces state-owned operator

Hungary will see a fourth, state-owned, operator enter the market

A new state-owned operator is set to enter Hungary’s mobile market after a consortium formed by other state-owned firms Magyar Posta, the Hungarian Electricity Works and a unit of the Hungarian Developmen­t Bank successfully bid for the biggest block at the country’s 900MHz band auction.

The consortium bid HUF10bn ($45m) for the 5MHz block, according to local publication MTI-Econews, which cited regulator NMHH. The three mobile operators Magyar Telekom, Telenor Hungary and Vodafone Hungary also won frequency blocks in the auction.

This will present a challenge for the Hungarian government which will need to speedily set up the telco. Gordon Rawling, director at Oracle Communications, spearheaded a similar venture with Vodafone in Qatar, which launched a completely new telco from scratch in six months.

“It will be interesting to see how a new brand and operator will be set up from scratch in Hungary.  We saw through our work with Vodafone Qatar a few years ago that it’s possible to launch a comprehensive, quadruple-play offering  – with wireless, fixed-line, television and broadband – very quickly with the right technology and support,” he said.

Rawling added that as Hungary is a mature market, muscling its way into the market will be a tall order, particularly as it will have no legacy infrastructure to work around.

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