After more than two months of negotiations between the Ministry of Science and Technology and the four mobile operators that hold a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) licence, an agreement was reached on December 26 2002 to begin the implementation of UMTS services.

According to this agreement, the operators must deploy the necessary network and invest as necessary to make the first tests of multimedia mobile services in the second half of 2003, and to reach full commercial development of this technology by Summer 2004.

The companies involved will guarantee investments of €1,464 million during 2003 (20% more than in 2002), while the government will reduce the bank guarantees required of them when awarded the UMTS licences. By virtue of this agreement, about €5 billion in bank guarantees will be returned to the companies.

In order to be enforcable, the agreement requires a modification of the current legal framework governing the granting of licences. These modifications are bound to be included in the new telecommunications and audiovisual legislation that the government plans to present this year.

For further information on this topic please contact Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, Eduardo Gómez de la Cruz or Alejandro Plaza at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo by telephone (+34 91 582 9100) or by fax (+34 91.582. 9186) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] ).