Croatian fixed line operator Portus has beaten its start-up rival Optima Telekom to launch, in the process becoming the first operator to break the wireline monopoly of incumbent T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT). Portus, which is owned by the Split-based Elektromagic Corporation, has soft-launched services over its H1 network in a bid to get a head start on Optima, owned by former head of the country’s communications ministry Roland Zuvanic, which is due to launch by the end of the month. The Croatian fixed line market was opened up to competition on 1 January 2003, but it has taken more than two years for any newcomer to make a concerted attempt to compete with the incumbent. Portus was awarded a licence to offer fixed line services in mid-December 2004, one month after Optima. A third licensee, ISP Iskon, is preparing to enter the market. Portus chief executive Darko Parun says the telco hopes to take a 5% share of Croatia’s fixed telephony market by targeting the country’s flourishing corporate sector; he expects to sign up over 100 businesses by year-end.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Communications announced that it has issued three new fixed line concessions to Zagreb-registered companies Vodatel, Voicecom and Nexcom. Each telco paid around EUR2,700 for the 30-year licences and are required to roll out commercial services within one year.