Hungarian incumbent fixed line operator Magyar Telekom (MT) has purchased the remaining 49% stake in T-Systems Hungary it did not already own, as part of its ongoing consolidation programme. T-Systems, one of Europe’s leading ICT solution providers, has a presence in over 20 countries in the region. Deutsche Telekom-backed MT is implementing a major reorganisation process, first made public at the start of this year.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the future of MT has been the subject of growing speculation in 2007. In March it was linked with a possible sale to the Russian firm Sistema, as part of ongoing German-Russian political bargaining, and although the Hungarian PTO has been linked with a possible Russian buyout before, local industry watchers were surprised that some suggested a deal could be finalised by the time of Russian presidential elections in 2008. The following month, however, Hungary’s Minister of Economic Affairs Janos Koka poured water on the rumours when he told parliament that MT was definitely not for sale. Several MPs, including Attila Gruber of the opposition party Fidesz, had expressed concern that Deutsche Telekom was planning to sell the national PTO, citing issues over MT’s involvement in several sensitive national projects such as management of a national backbone network for many state agencies, ownership of the EDR (Unified Digital Radio Network) service, which is used by the emergency and security services, and its KFKI unit which manages data on Hungarian citizens. Koka confirmed that Deutsche Telekom has no plans to sell MT, and to the contrary is continuing its eastern European expansion, and that the personal data of Hungarian citizens is also safe, as only state-owned institutions may manage areas that carry national security risks.