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Manoeuvring continues ahead of UMTS auction

With just a week to go before the start of Switzerland's auction of third generation mobile telecommunications licences, the main players are continuing to position themselves for the race.

Swisscom is refusing to comment on reports that Britain’s Vodafone group is to buy a 25 per cent stake in the company’s mobile telecommunications division.

Vodafone is not among the nine bidders for four UMTS licences in Switzerland and a deal with Swisscom would link it with the current market leader. The Swiss government remains Swisscom’s majority shareholder and is expected to decide on Vodafone’s reported offer on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Australia’s One.Tel said on Monday that it was not going to participate in the UMTS auction that begins on November 13. That leaves Spain’s Telefonica as the sole backer of the Team 3G consortium after Finland’s Sonera dropped out on Friday.

And France Telecom has no comment on reports that it is planning to increase its share in Swiss Orange Communications. Media reports say the company wants to buy the 42.5 per cent stake currently held by E.On.

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