Cyta says ‘no problem’ with Vodafone over Telsim takeover

7 Jul 2006

The chairman of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), Stavros Kremos, yesterday said that British mobile giant Vodafone’s acquisition of Turkish cellco Telsim, which operates in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, would not affect Cytamobile-Vodafone, Cyta’s mobile partnership in the south with Vodafone. Local newspaper Cyprus Mail quoted Kremos as saying: ‘One thing we can assure people of, and which Vodafone has confirmed, is that they will not operate in the north under the Vodafone name and logo.’ Vodafone, which won the tender for Turkey’s second biggest GSM operator in December 2005 with a bid of USD4.55 million, has started work to complete the acquisition of network assets in the Turkish occupied areas of the island. The UK-based group is obliged to pay an additional USD30 million for the Turkish Cypriot operation according to its sale contract. The north’s Transport Ministry said this week that Vodafone has two months left to complete the transaction and would also be liable to be pay USD10.9 million to the Turkish Cypriot authorities in taxes for the purchase. Telsim and fellow Turkish firm Turkcell are the only two GSM operators in the north; Turkcell has around 230,000 subscribers while Telsim’s users number approximately 50,000. Both started operating in the territory in 1999 and have invested around USD30 million each.