OTE in regulatory dispute

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s telecoms regulator stood firm yesterday behind proposed call interconnection rates, after OTE Telecom said the low rates would hurt its plans to turn around fixed-line monopoly Romtelecom. «We have no reason so far to change the level of interconnection rates… However, we will continue our analyses,» said Alexandrina Hartan, vice president of the National Regulatory Authority for Communications (ANRC). Her remarks are likely to add fuel to a dispute between Romanian authorities and OTE over a $243-million deal involving a capital boost in Romtelecom, OTE’s biggest investment abroad. OTE decided on Tuesday to put on hold the deal which would give it a majority stake in Romtelecom. OTE Chief Executive Lefteris Antonakopoulos said in Athens late on Wednesday that the interconnection rates proposed by ANRC, less than 30 percent of those currently charged, would make reaching targets on its profitability «extremely challenging.»

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