T-Mobile forced to give MVNO access

27 Nov 2008

The Croatian Postal & Electronic Communications Agency (HAKOM) has ordered the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, T-Mobile Hrvatski, to provide mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licensee Telcro with everything that is necessary to launch commercial MVNO services over the German-owned cellco’s GSM infrastructure within 60 days. Telcro director Kresimir Profaca, quoted by local newspaper Poslovni Dnevnik, confirmed that his company is preparing for commercial operations; Telcro claims to have spent HRK1.5 million (USD272,000) lobbying the government to enforce the legal requirement for network operators to allow third-party access to their infrastructure.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, a framework for the introduction of MVNO services was defined in Croatian law and regulation at the end of 2005 and the first MVNO licence issued to Telcro in the first quarter of 2007. However, in October 2007 Telcro filed a request for arbitration with HAKOM after the market’s second largest cellcom, Telekom Austria subsidiary VIPnet, refused to give it access to its network. At the end of May 2008 the regulator rejected a request from Telcro to issue a public tender for a fourth national GSM network operating licence. In the meantime Zagrebacka Banka (Zaba) struck a partnership with T-Mobile to launch post-paid resold services under the bank’s Mobil100 brand in July 2007, and in August 2007 the country’s first mobile resale services were launched, although Telcro is thought to be the first to gain permission for a full MVNO service.