Belgrade plans fixed line liberalisation for 2009, Telekom IPO a year later

29 Oct 2008

Serbia will open up its fixed line telephony markets in 2009, ending the monopoly of state-owned Telekom Srbija, reports Reuters citing the telecoms minister. ‘We have reached an agreement to allow competition in fixed telephony next year,’ Jasna Matic told a news conference. ‘The pace of it is still to be regulated.’ Ms Matic did not say what specific steps the government would take to open the market, but said more details would follow in the coming months.

Liberalisation will come a year before the government launches an initial public offering (IPO) for Telekom Srbija. The telco is currently 80% state-owned, with the remainder in the hands of the Greek telco OTE. With the IPO postponed to 2010 due to the global financial turmoil, Telekom Srbija has decided to raise prices this month to try to expand its network before competition arrives.

The minister also revealed plans to hold a tender for WiMAX wireless broadband licences, following its decision to fully liberalise the internet market. ‘Tenders for WiMAX are due to be called by the end of this year,’ Matic said.

Serbia, Telekom Srbija (MTS)