m:tel takeover of Elta-Kabel rejected, report says

20 Mar 2019

Predrag Kovac, director general of the Communications Regulatory Agency (Regulatorna agencija za komunikacije, RAK) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has suggested that the takeover of local cableco Elta-Kabel by Telekom Srbija-backed m:tel has been rejected by the Council of Competition (Konkurencijsko vijece). The comments were made at a press conference on 10 March, and prompted m:tel officials to argue that the review is still ongoing. A spokesperson for m:tel told Capital.ba: ‘We do not understand why the RAK’s director made false claims at the press conference and went on to comment on a legal process that is not finished, and for which he is not at all competent [to judge]. This can be interpreted as intent to harm m:tel and damage its reputation in a situation where it legitimately and transparently implements its business strategy in accordance with legal procedures.’

Kovac’s comments were seemingly made during a discussion of dominant market players, and follow m:tel’s back-to-back acquisitions of the ISPs TelradNet and Blicnet, both of which received regulatory approval earlier this year.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, m:tel was Bosnia’s second largest broadband operator by subscribers as of December 2018, with a 20.0% market share – well below market leader BH Telecom (34.7%). Blicnet accounted for a 4.0% market share at the same date, narrowly ahead of Elta-Kabel (3.8%).

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Blicnet, Communications Regulatory Agency (RAK), Elta-Kabel (Bosnia), Telekom Srpske (m:tel), Telrad Net