Struggling Romanian mobile operator Cosmorom, recently taken over by Greece’s Cosmoté, was re-launched yesterday under the new brand name Cosmote Romania. The cellco, with a customer base of only around 75,000, hopes to improve its standing in the market with a newly announced strategy based on aggressive pricing and an improved range of services. It has introduced a flat tariff for calls between all mobile networks and is offering lower monthly access fees than those currently offered by rival GSM players Orange Romania and MobiFon. Its network covers around 80% of Romania’s population and 55% of the country’s territory, but Cosmoté aims to be able to reach 90% of the population and 70% of territory by June 2006. The Greek company says it plans to invest EUR500 million, mostly in infrastructure, ‘over the next few years.’ In an effort to boost brand awareness it has already established a local sales network including ten exclusive Cosmote shops, 75 exclusive RomTelecom shops and 175 commercial partnerships with dealers across the country. When asked by Bucharest Daily News if it was planning to focus on 2G GSM services only, the company said it was prepared to bid for a 3G licence ‘whenever the authorities put them on sale.’
Cosmoté recently bought 70% of Cosmorom from fixed line incumbent RomTelecom for EUR120 million and agreed to finance its re-launch. The remaining 30% of shares in the cellco remain in the possession of RomTelecom. At the end of September 2005 it had less than 1% of the Romanian subscriber market, compared to Orange Romania with over 51% and MobiFon with over 45%; CDMA operator Zapp accounted for nearly 3%.