Mobilkom Macedonia (VIP Mobile), a unit of mobilkom Austria, is mulling a takeover of Macedonia’s second largest cellco by subscribers, Cosmofon, after the latter’s parent, OTE of Greece, announced plans to sell the company. Last Friday the chief executive of Telekom Austria and mobilkom Austria, Boris Nemsic, confirmed that VIP Mobile is interested in purchasing its larger rival, although he added that OTE has yet to begin any formal moves to offload the venture. Nemsic said his company welcomed the recent decision by Macedonia’s Competitiveness Protection Board which found that T-Mobile and Cosmofon collectively control around 90% of the domestic mobile market and would effectively monopolise it if run by a single owner. Deutsche Telekom controls T-Mobile Macedonia and, by dint of its recent purchase of a strategic stake in OTE, it also indirectly controls Cosmofon. In June this year CommsUpdate reported that after careful consideration of the contract signed by DT and the government of Greece on a strategic partnership, Athens accepted the terms and conditions under which OTE would stop operating mobile services in Macedonia and would no longer use its licence for offering cellular services in Montenegro. Local press reported at the time that the new German owner confirmed it was keen to continue with the T-Mobile brand in Macedonia and shutting down Cosmofon would avoid harming its long-term interests.
VIP Mobile, the third mobile network operator in Macedonia, has invested upwards of EUR50 million (USD72.3 million) in its network and created 170 new jobs since its inception. The company is celebrating the anniversary of its first full year in operation by announcing it has so far signed up around 250,000 subscribers.