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Bidders bow out of UMTS auction

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

The number of bidders in the telecommunications world for the third generation of mobile licences in Switzerland has reduced to five. The bidding for the four licences starts on Monday.

Late on Thursday evening, Switzerland’s biggest cable television provider, Cablecom, withdrew from the race.

Owned by the United States NTL company, Cablecom said it was pulling out of the auction because it was too much of a financial burden. It added that it would look for a partnership with one of the successful bidders.

The Federal Office for Communications in Biel announced on Friday that Telenor Mobile of Norway and Hutchison of Hong Kong were also no longer in the race.

A subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobil, also confirmed it would not take part in the auction.

The five remaining bidders are Swisscom, Orange, diAx, Sunrise and Telefonica of Spain.

Two of the bidders strengthened their positions earlier this week. The British telecommunications company, Vodafone, said it was a acquiring a 25 per cent stake in the mobile division of Swisscom, and France Telecom bought a majority stake in Orange Switzerland for SF2.4 billion ($1.37 billion).

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR