ECONOMY

Setback for CyTA investment

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus state telecoms firm CyTA said yesterday it would examine its options after the opposition-controlled Cypriot Parliament blocked a plan for it to invest in Greek telecoms operator Infoquest. «I cannot say the project is dead,» the spokesman told Reuters. «The board of directors will meet next Tuesday to see how to proceed.» The refusal to allow CyTA to proceed is a setback for the government-controlled monopoly, which had planned to invest about 30 million Cyprus pounds ($56.4 million) this year to move into other overseas markets and offset the impact of deregulation looming at home. «When we got the funds released, we undertook to tell Parliament about it to get their unofficial OK. The (communications) minister did that, and AKEL and DIKO came out against it,» company spokesman Paris Menelaou said. The communist AKEL and centrist DIKO parties hold the majority of seats in the 56-member Parliament. Their candidate for presidential elections scheduled on February 16, Tassos Papadopoulos, is riding high in opinion polls. CyTA is currently the only provider of mobile and fixed-line services on Cyprus. It started talking to Greece’s Infoquest, which runs the new Q-Telecom service, late in 2001. Q-Telecom offers fixed-line services and mobile services, which it launched in June of last year. At the end of 2002, it had 75,563 mobile connections and 24,179 fixed-line connections.