At least two of the six operators that that have secured UMTS third generation mobile telephony licences in Germany are likely to disappear, the market being much too small, according to the Chairman of the German of Telecommunications and new Media Federation(BITKOM). Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on February 14, Volker Jung suggested that in the longer term, only three or four operators are likely to survive. The German groups Deutsche Telekom and MobilCom, the British operators Vodafone and Viag Interkom (British Telecom group), and the Quam (Telefonica/Sonera) and E-Plus (KPN/Hutchison Whampoa) consortia all contracted massive debts paying more than Euro 8 billion in summer 2000 to secure licences in Germany. This represents a per capita payment of Euro 614 in Germany, compared with just Euro 13 in Spain where, as Mr Jung pointed out, unlike in Germany, UMTS licences were not sold at auction. In order to absorb their enormous investments in Germany, operators need more freedom in concluding...

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