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Germany approves 3G alliance
Posted: 13-Jul-2000 [Source: FT]

[NTT DoCoMo, Hutchison Whampoa, and KPN are to cooperate with 3G spectrum bids.]

By Dan Roberts in London and Haig Simonian in Berlin -- "German regulators have approved a pan-European mobile phone alliance between Hutchison Whampoa, KPN and NTT DoCoMo despite fears that it will dramatically reduce the proceeds from third generation licence auctions.

"The alliance concentrates the number of bidders in countries like Germany and the Netherlands to the point where the licences may fetch much less than the 22.5bn ($34bn) seen in the UK. The three-way link was formally unveiled in London on Wednesday, after four weeks of negotiations. Yoshinori Uda, senior executive vice-president of NTT DoCoMo, denied that a desire to reduce the cost of licences was a driving force behind the alliance - but said it was a "fortunate by-product".

"The trio intends to bid jointly in Germany through a complex arrangement which includes Bell South, a minority shareholder in KPN's current German network, E-Plus.

"However, if they win, the partners will exploit the 3G network through two separate operating companies - E-Plus and Hutchison. Hutchison's managing director, Canning Fok, said this was partly because his Hong Kong-based group did not want to be burdened by the second generation network of E-Plus.

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