Srbija expected to fetch higher price, plots North American MVNO launch
Telekom Srbija could fetch a higher price than offered by Telekom Austria four years ago, the state-backed provider’s managing director Predrag Culibrk told press. The official explained that the market would determine the price, but was optimistic given a recent ‘encouraging’ agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which could see Belgrade receive EUR1 billion (USD1.24 billion) from the fund as the government strives to make much-needed structural reforms to bolster the struggling economy. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Telekom Austria entered a bid of EUR950 million for the telco in 2010, before bumping up its offer to EUR1.1 billion. Both bids were rejected however, as they fell short of the government’s asking price of EUR1.4 billion. News portal Novosti quotes Culibrk as saying that Telekom will continue its development projects throughout the privatisation process, noting that the operator lost between 800,000 and a million mobile subscribers during the previous sale attempt, when ‘almost everything stopped.’
Commenting on the operator’s ongoing bid to acquire a majority stake in Dunav Banka, Culibrk explained that the measure was necessary to stave off a potential decline from diminishing SMS and voice usage brought about by changes in technology and customer behaviour. The official also hinted that the acquisition would form part of a larger programme to serve the Serbian diaspora, hinting at a future mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) launch in North America. No further details of this development were given, except that it will be discussed ‘in the weeks ahead.