Greek mobile group Cosmoté has said that it plans to invest more than EUR450 million over the next three years to revamp its ailing Romanian unit, Cosmorom. The GSM operator is the smallest cellco in Romania, with 84,500 customers at the end of June 2005, but Cosmoté claims that the country’s cellular penetration rate – near to 50% compared to over 100% in Greece – gives it enough room to grow. In early July 2005 Cosmoté bought a 70% stake from RomTelecom for EUR120 million, giving it responsibility for financing the loss-making operator. RomTelecom, which retains a 30% interest in the cellco, has stated that the capital raised by the sale will be poured back into Cosmorom’s network development. Cosmorom competes with market leader Orange Romania, with 5.72 million subscribers at end-June, MobiFon (5.25 million subscribers) and CDMA provider TeleMobile (Zapp) (300,000 subs).
Cosmoté also controls Bulgaria’s second largest cellco, Cosmo Bulgaria (Globul), which achieved steady growth in the first half of 2005 to claim 37.5% of subscribers behind market leader MobilTel with 61.5%. Meanwhile, its Macedonian arm Cosmofon reported that it doubled its mobile customers in 1H; it also runs Albania’s biggest cellco, AMC. Cosmoté estimates that its international holdings will account for between 30% and 35% of its total revenues by 2007.