Albania's telecommunications regulator (AKEP) has issued a tender to award licences for the use of frequencies in the 1800MHz spectrum band, the Independent Balkan News Agency reported. Two mobile service providers active in Albania, Vodafone and Eagel Mobile have already expressed a commitment to launch 4G services.
Albania currently has four mobile phone companies, the former state owned company AMC, founded in 1996, privatized by COSMOTE in 2000 and then part of Deutsche Telecom. The second mobile company in the country is Vodafone, which started to operate in 2001. Several years later, once landline company Albtelecom, which held the license for mobile operator Eagle, was sold to a Turkish company, in order to start the third mobile phone service. The fourth mobile phone operator was Plus. The main shareholder of this company was Vala from Kosovo and several Albanian businessmen. The first three companies use 3G technology, while although Plus obtained the license last year, it could not keep it, because according to AKEP, it didn’t make the payment and the license was revoked.
Albania is one of the last countries in the region which has not yet introduced 4G technology, although year after year there have been declarations for its launch. Even smaller neighboring countries such as Kosovo, Montenegro, FYROM, have implemented the 4G system for a while.
In Albania, there are currently around 6 million mobile phone numbers. It’s believed that at least half of them are still in use. Companies do not publish public data for the number of users and other figures. Due to preferential charges within the same operator, many Albanians hold two or more mobile phones in order to have a low cost of Communication.