A1 Telekom Austria Group €1 billion Expansion into Eastern Europe

A1 Telekom Austria Group’s CEO Alejandro Plater announced that the company is planning to spend €1 billion to expand its business into Eastern Europe.

The company owns Mtel and Blizoo in Bulgaria, Velcom in Belarus, Vipnet in Croatia, ONE.VIP in Macedonia, Vip mobile in Serbia, A1 in Slovenia, and Telecom Liechtenstein.

Capital.bg reported on the statements made by the CEO during a press conference in Vienna.

Telekom Austria operates in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Belarus, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Liechtenstein and, of course, Austria.

Plater’s statements are said to be in reaction to the large buyout of Telenor by PPF Group. Bulgaria’s entire telecom industry is shifting, with Handy, one of Bulgaria’s oldest player in phone device sales, closing down after 16 years of business. Interestingly enough, Telekom Austria's subsidiary Mtel terminated its contract with Handy, effectively ending the company's business in Bulgaria.

Plater said: “If you don’t expand, there’s no way to stay relevant on the market.” He said that Telekom Austria will expand in Eastern Europe without elaborating on where exactly that would happen. The CEO also said that the €1 billion investment will not be from loans and that the company already has the money.

Capital reports that one of the potential countries for expansion is Serbia, with the site Broadband TV News saying Telekom Austria is looking into buying Telekom Srbija after a failed attempt to reach an agreement in 2011 when €1.1 billion was offered. If the deal is to happen, this will be the second Serbian operator owned by Telekom Austria.

A1 Telekom Austria’s business in Bulgaria includes Mobiltel, the largest mobile phone operator in Bulgaria, and Blizoo, a company mostly known for cable television and internet services.

According to Capital, Mobiltel will be branded with the company-wide name A1 in 2018.

As said above, the telecom climate in Eastern Europe is changing, with some companies pulling out and other moving in. In addition to the PPF Group buyout of Telenor, the company also bought Nova.

Alex Dimchev

Alex Dimchev is a writer, editor, and weapons master for EUscoop.com

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