Serbian telecom operator to receive mobile licence for Kosovo – report

By bne IntelliNews June 4, 2013

Kosovo has allegedly agreed to give a mobile licence to a Serbian telecom operator, allowing it to provide services in the Serb enclaves in northern Kosovo, Serb daily Novosti informed, quoting a report of Kosovan daily Gazeta Express.

Talks between Serbia and Kosovo have been underway in Brussels on the technical implementation of the reconciliation agreement they reached in April. Expert teams of the two countries are also discussing how to settle the outstanding electricity and telecommunications issues between each other. Gazeta Express is citing sources close to the ongoing negotiations in its report.

The report claims that the existing two mobile operators in Kosovo – Vala and Ipko, have not been informed yet they will soon get a competitor. Still, the Serb telecom will be licensed to operate only in the majority-Serb areas of Kosovo, while Vala and IPKO service the whole population.

The Serbian company would likely pay only EUR 50,000 for the licence, while the two existing operators bought their permits for several millions of euro each, the report said.

The Serbian operator will most likely be state-controlled Telekom Srbija, which has been already present in Kosovo but providing its services without a licence, or as local authorities claim illegally. The reported agreement between the two countries would help legalise the telecom’s activities.

In return for the licence, Serbia is ready to allow Kosovo use +383 or +384 as a country calling code. The country has been without an own calling code ever since it declared unilaterally its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Mobile phone providers in Kosovo now use +377 (of Monaco) or +386 (of Slovenia), while landlines are accessed via Serbia’s +381.

Kosovo’s deputy PM Edita Tahiri who is leading the Pristina team in the talks with Serbia told Gazeta Express the two sides are very close to reaching an agreement on the outstanding telephony issues. She confirmed Serbia has agreed to allow Kosovo’s access to an own calling code. 

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