ECONOMY

Mobile operator ups users

Mobile phone operator Vodafone-Panafon said yesterday that it captured the biggest slice of the contract net new addition market in the October-December 2002 period, boosting its subscriber base by 11.6 percent to 3.22 million. The increase in subscribers was «better than expected,» said Theodore Ritsios, telecoms analyst at P&K Securities. While the figures gave Vodafone-Panafon a 33.5 percent share of the mobile telephony market, they have lost their importance as an indicator of a company’s dynamics, he said. «Companies are now focusing on average revenues per user, total revenues, the operating result,» Ritsios said. CosmOTE last week underscored its dominance of the market as it racked up 3.5 million subscribers, including half a million in Albania, at the end of 2002, giving it a 36.5 percent market share. Third-placed Stet Hellas had 2.5 million customers, an increase of 17.7 percent. Vodafone-Panafon reported a sharp jump in contract net new additions to 36,261 in the October-December period, nearly double CosmOTE’s figure. Prepay net new additions totaled 69,196. The operator said 72 percent of its subscriber base was made up of prepay users and the remaining 28 percent contract customers. Active subscribers constituted 77 percent of total users. A simple and balanced pricing policy coupled with an expanding retail network helped to bring in the customers, Vodafone-Panafon said. In Albania, where it competes with CosmOTE’s AMC, subsidiary Vodafone Albania appears to be closing the gap with its rival as it signed up slightly more new net additions at the end of December. Subscribers there totaled 349,000. UK mobile operator Vodafone holds a 63 percent stake in the Greek company.