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Vodafone Sweden stops wriggling on 3G hook

Takes it on the chin

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Vodafone will not appeal the ruling of the Swedish telco regulator, the PTS, that it must stick to the December 2003 deadline of rolling out 3G coverage across the country, newswires report.

Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile network operator, had applied for a two year extension to December 2005, complaining of difficulty in getting planning permission for masts.

The PTS thought this was a lame excuse and announced last month that Vodafone would simply have to stick with the programme.

In August, the regulator also rejected a request from Orange to delay roll-out and relax population coverage conditions. At the time, Orange complained that the rules of Sweden's 3G game had been altered by the arrival of, effectively, a fifth player in the form of Swedish incumbent Telia.

Question now is: will Orange bail out? France Telecom, its cash-strapped parent, is squeezing the mobile network's capital budget hard, to service debt. ®

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