Macedonian internet service provider On.net entered the domestic fixed line telephony services market on 24 January, making it the second operator in the country behind former monopoly Macedonian Telecommunications (MakTel). The newcomer says it plans to compete with MakTel by offering lower prices for international and long-distance calls.
On.Net signed an interconnection agreement with the incumbent on 15 November 2006, the first reference interconnection deal MakTel has completed since the market was liberalised in January 2005. The liberalisation process has proved anything but smooth, however, and in November 2005 the government was accused of lacking the political will to suspend MakTel’s monopoly. At the time, European Commission officials said that Macedonia risked breaching the Stabilisation and Association Agreement signed in 2001, which called on it to open up the market by June 2004, and that its failure to comply could be seen as an indication that it did not have the capacity or will to meet the requirements. With such matters weighing heavily on the government ahead of EU entry talks, Macedonia managed to speed up the process.