BTC Acquires Mobikom - Report

Business | December 19, 2004, Sunday // 00:00

Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) has acquired the analogue operator Mobikom and the phone-card operator Bulphon, according to anonymous sources quoted by Dnevnik daily.

Thus the formerly state-owned telecom, 65% of which have been bought earlier this year by Viva Ventures, an arm of US-British equity fund Advent, gets hold of Mobikom's 49% of the British company Cable & Wireless and 12% of Radio-Electronic Systems, owned by the Interior Ministry of Bulgaria.

The deal price will remain unknown until permission is granted from the country's telecommunications and anti-monopoly ruling bodies. Their decisions on the key deal are expected on Tuesday.

However, the ownership of two mobile licenses by the same operator could violate the anti-monopoly law of the country, legal experts commented.

China's Huawei Technologies was picked up to build up the network of Bulgaria's third GSM operator after Viva Ventures remitted the negotiated price of BGN 54,160,000, as part of the ground-breaking privatisation deal. Mobikom's network is seen crucial for the third GSM operator, projected to serve as its platform.

As of end 2003, Mobikom has a market share of 2.3% and about 100,000 subscribers.

The new owners of formerly state telecom carrier project an ambitious mobile coverage program of 95% of Bulgarian territory by the commercial GSM services launch by early 2005.

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