Montenegro in talks with Telecom Italia on launching fourth mobile operator - report

By bne IntelliNews August 12, 2013

The Montenegrin telecommunications ministry has been allegedly in talks with Telecom Italia on a possible cooperation regarding the creation of a fourth mobile operator in the tiny Adriatic state of 620,000 people, radio and TV broadcaster RTCG reported, quoting unofficial information.

According to the report, Telecom Italia officials visited Podgorica recently to hold talks with telecommunications minister Vujica Lazovic.

Montenegro now has three mobile operators - T-Mobile (controlled by Deutsche Telekom), the local arm of Norway's Telenor and Telekom Srbija's unit - M:Tel.

RTCG quoted in a separate article local market expert Predrag Boljevic as saying that there is no room for a fourth operator on the small Montenegrin market. In June he praised the idea of the ministry to set up a state-owned operator, saying this would enable the employment of some human and technical capacities already available. He pointed out now, however, that the private telecommunications firms have pulled out hundreds of millions of euro from Montenegro since entering the country because of the damaging contracts signed with their parent companies.

The annual revenue of the Montenegrin telecommunications market is EUR 300mn, the report says.

The mobile phone penetration rate in the country has been shrinking in annual basis over the past year, dropping to 162% in June 2013.

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