Telekom Austria could take-over Romanian mobile telephony giant

Friday, January 28, 2005

Bucharest, Romania —Communications corporation Telekom Austria has stated that it intends to expand in southeastern Europe and is specifically targeting the Romanian mobile phone giant Mobifon, which operates under the brand name Connex. Mobifon's Connex GSM network is the second-largest in Romania, with more than 4.9 million subscribers. Mobifon is also one of the largest and best-known Romanian companies, as well as one of the largest ISPs in the region.

Several sources have stated that Vodafone, which has an important share in Mobifon, could sell its shares to Telekom Austria to take-over the Romanian operator for approximately 3 billion euro.

This is not the first attempt by Telekom Austria in its drive towards expansion in the region. At the end of 2004, it signed an agreement to buy Mobiltel from the Bulgarian government for 1.6 billion euro. Telekom Austria also intends to expand into Serbia and Bosnia in 2005, followed by Macedonia and Montenegro.

Mobifon, the Romanian operator, is currently a branch of Telesystems International Wireless (TIW), a Canadian communications company which also owns the Oskar brand in Czechia. The main shareholders in TIW are Netherlandic operator Mobifon Holdings BV, with 63.45% share, as well as Vodafone Europe BV (20.15% participation) and Deraso Holding BV (14.4% participation).

With 4.9 million customers, Mobifon has significant market share of Romania's 10.2 million mobile phone subscribers. It also plans to be the first operator to establish a 3G network across the country.