Банкеръ Weekly



THIRD MOBILE OPERATOR STARTS OPERATIONS NEXT MARCHWhispers are going round in the telecommunications sector that Mobikom former executive director John Munnery who resigned in 2001 will become director of the third GSM operator owned by the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC). Mr. Munnery is our consultant, but no such question has ever been discussed, BTC Executive Director William Aylward told the BANKER weekly. He added that still it was a very interesting suggestion. The fate of Mobikom itself depends on the continuing negotiations with Cable Wireless which controls a 49% stake of the capital of the first Bulgarian mobile operator, Mr. Aylward explained. Last week he announced that within a month and a half BTC's new owners (the Austrian Viva Ventures company) will begin to invest in the construction of the GSM network. Offers from suppliers are now being collected, Mr. Aylward said, and the third GSM operator would start operations no later than next March. The initiated lawsuits against our mobile licence will not stop us from investing in the network, the BTC manager said.In the meantime, the head of the legal department of BTC (from the new management team of the company), Richard Clegg, announced that the telecom would invest more than EUR1BN in the next year or two. The money will be used for construction of the third GSM operator but also for introduction of new technologies for the fixed network, new customer services, and a new billing system. According to Mr. Clegg, the modernisation of the fixed network is expected to spread over 98 Bulgarian towns by the year-end.

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