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Cablecom withdraws from UMTS auction

Cablecom said it had pulled out of Switzerland's UMTS auction for financial reasons Keystone

The country's biggest cable television provider, Cablecom, has pulled out of the bidding for licences for the third generation of mobile telephones which begins in Switzerland on Monday.

Cablecom, which is owned by the United States NTL company, said it would not vie for the four licences because it was too much of a financial burden. The company said it would look for a partnership with one of the successful bidders.

Only eight out of the ten original bidders remain in the race for licences for the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System – UMTS.

The withdrawal comes after Wednesday’s announcement from the British telecommunications company, Vodafone, that it was acquiring a 25 per cent stake in the the mobile phone division of the country’s biggest telecommunications company, Swisscom.

In another development this week, France Telecom said it was acquiring a majority stake in Orange Switzerland. It is to buy E.On’s 42.5 per cent share in the company for an estimated SFr2.4 billion.

Orange is one of the favourites to gain a UMTS licence.

Australia’s One.Tel said on Monday that it was not going to participate in the UMTS auction. That leaves Spain’s Telefonica as the sole backer of the Team 3G consortium after Finland’s Sonera dropped out last Friday.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR