Differences of the CEE telecoms market. The cases of Polkomtel and Telekom Srbija

Even though the CEE telecommunications market is often perceived as a homogenous structure, significant differences occur between the countries in it. Most recently, stakes in two significant players in the region have been put up for sale – Polish mobile operator Polkomtel and Serbian incumbent operator Telekom Srbija. Those two cases and the prospects for growth of these companies show at the same time the differences between two of the markets that have entered the CEE telecoms market.
Polkomtel is one of the leading Polish mobile operators. In addition to the GSM and UMTS licence the operator also possesses CDMA, which was acquired in 2009 along with the purchase of Nordisk Polska. In 2009 the operator had more than 14 million customers and generated net profit of €256m. Main stakeholders in the company are KGHM Polska Miedz (24.39%), Polska Grupa Energetyczna (21.85%), PKN Orlen (24.39%), Vodafone (24.39%) and Weglokoks (4.98%). In 2009 the Polish investors decided to sell their stakes in the operator. Even though the Polish state is the sole owner of Weglokoks and PGE, and while in PKN Orlen has minority shares, it had announced that it would not interfere in the plans regarding the sale of Polkomtel. The reason the stakeholder decided to put the operator up for sale lay in the fact that the funds acquired in that way would be used for investments in the company’s core areas of business.

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