New mobile provider could enter Hungarian market

By Zsolt Gyenge

    The National Media and Telecommunications Authority (NMHH, www.nmhh.hu) plans to sell the 450 MHz band in Hungary in 2010. The deputy chief of the Authority, Gábor Mátrai, explained that the advantages of the 450 MHz band (lower building and maintenance costs of the network) might cause a fourth mobile phone service provider to enter the Hungarian telecommunication market.

    In addition, a new 900 MHz band destined mainly for high-use internet traffic will also be sold later this year; however, the Authority has not yet decided whether to offer this band only to already existing service providers or to open it for new players.

    The Authority is also working a new band-fee ordinance which would make the system more transparent and simple, as it will be based on the use of the band. The change will probably affect around 12,000 companies, among them broadcasters operating in Hungary.

    Hungary is due to complete the process of switching to digital broadcasting, required to occur by the end of 2011. The main condition for a territory to completely switch to digital broadcasting is the availability at a discount price of the set top box for socially disadvantaged people.