BTC expands phone booth empire

31 May 2005

The Bulgarian Telecommunication Company (BTC) has become the sole owner of public payphone operator Bulfon by acquiring a 66% stake previously held by Greece’s Intracom. The deal was agreed in principle in February but only finalised this week after negotiations to iron out legal details of the transaction. Bulfon has 8,000 payphones in 350 towns and villages across Bulgaria.

The acquisition of Bulfon means that BTC now holds a monopoly on the country’s public card payphone operations – the other two national providers being BTC itself and Mobika, part of RTC Mobikom. In December last year, soon after being granted a GSM licence, BTC struck a deal to increase its stake in Mobikom to 88%, completing a 100% acquisition of the analogue mobile operator the following February. The purchases were permitted on the condition that Mobikom terminates its own activities on the public payphone market in a year, but this should present no problems to BTC, as legal experts say that the Mobika pre-paid card business will more than likely be transferred to either BTC itself or a new company set up for the purpose.

Bulgaria, RTC Mobikom, Vivacom (BTC)