MOBIKOM WITH A NEW MANAGEMENT AND OLD PROBLEMS
The mobile phone operator Radiotelecommunications Company, better known by its trade name Mobikom, presented to journalists its new managerial team. The former executive director John Munnery will be replaced by two co-managers - the British Richard Lowette and Tim Bussere. Prior that Mr. Lowette was Mobikom's financial director, and Mr. Bussere was director for INTERNET and information systems. As managers of the mobile phone operator they will be in charge of the same activities. Richard Lowette will also supervise the administration.The two Englishmen are heading the company at a time when its future is very vague. One of its owners - Cable Wireless, whose representatives are both Mr. Lowette and Mr. Bussere - obviously intends to find a buyer for its 49% stake, but it's also clear that it would not sell its share participation at a lower price than the money invested over the years. This is the main reason for the deadlock at which negotiations with the management of the Bulgarian Telecommunciations Company (BTC) came. The BTC was willing to acquire the entire mobile operator. Presently, the national telecom holds 39% of Mobikom's shares, Cable and Wireless has a 49% stake, and the Interior Ministry's Radioelectronic Company owns the balance of 12 per cent.Cable Wireless suspended negotiations with the BTC in the summer, waiting for the new Government's decision on whether the third GSM licence would be granted to still state-run telecom. Meanwhile, Mr. Lowette and Mr. Bussere confirmed the information, spread among ago, that the US corporation Qualcom was also interested in acquiring the British company's stake in Mobikom. It is said Qualcom's emissarys intended to use Mobikom's analogous network in order to set up a system for mobile communications in accordance with the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Acess) technology, used in the USA.According to Mobikom's new managers, however, its network would be rather reshaped to GSM, which would make it competitive to MobilTel and GloBul. We are both commercially and technically prepared to launch GSM services within six months, Tim Bussere said in front of journalists, without expalining what would happen in such a case to the present subscribers to the analogous system. According to data, provided by the company's management, Mobikom currently has 180,000 subscribers, the paging communications system has 20,000 subscribers, and there are 6,000 steet Mobika telephones.