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Low 3G license fees: Boon for Asia Pacific

Research firm Gartner expects the adoption of third generation (3G) services in Asia Pacific (including Japan) to be buoyed by low licensing fees.

Research firm Gartner expects the adoption of third generation (3G) services in Asia Pacific (including Japan) to be buoyed by low licensing fees.

SINGAPORE - According to a research published by Gartner Datapro's Voice Networking Technologies Group, 3G license cost in the region is about 10 times less expensive than in Europe.

"The freed-up capital can be used more effectively to roll out network infrastructure and develop new services on the 3G platform," claimed Gartner industry analyst Evelyn Goh in a statement yesterday. 3G licensing costs

The research singled out Japan as the most attractive market for 3G development. "Japanese 3G licenses were issued at no cost even though its cellular average revenue per user is among the highest in the world," Gartner said in the statement.

The report also noted that countries including Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and Taiwan are most likely to be early adopters of 3G as they had high mobile penetration rates.

In addition, the research claimed that their consumer markets are sophisticated and ready for 3G.

Last week, Singapore cancelled its 3G mobile license auction.

According to the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the three bidders -- MobileOne (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore Telecom Mobile Pte Ltd and StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd--chose different blocks of spectrum.

M1, SingTel and StarHub will each get a license at S$100 million.

The Singapore government had earlier reduced its initial reserve price of S$150 million for the auction of 3G mobile phone licenses to S$100 million.

The government said then that one of the reasons for the reduction was that fact that high 3G license costs in some of the early European auctions had led to debt downgrades throughout the telecoms industry.

"This will in turn lead to higher financing costs for, and may slow down, the rollout of 3G networks and services--an outcome which is not in the consumer's best interest," Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information Technology Yeo Cheow Tong said in Parliament last month.