Estimates of the cost of building 3G networks in large European countries have tended to cluster around $5 billion per operator. This, in addition to the embarrassing large licence fees paid to governments, is acting as a drag on stock market performance.
This figure is exactly what we would have predicted based on our modelling of 3G costs contained in our June report. Sweden is nearly twice the size of the UK, and the regulator’s coverage requirements are probably the strictest in Europe – in theory the whole of population has to be covered. But costs are reduced because Europolitan will share its network with the Hutchison 3G venture in all areas of the country outside the four biggest cities.