Attracted by lower rates and competitively packaged deals, more and more Greeks are turning to alternative telecoms carriers for their telecommunications needs. The volume of traffic handled by 11 alternative carriers that went through incumbent OTE’s network in the September-October period rose to 134 million minutes, the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) said yesterday. This marked a 75.42 percent increase from the July-August period. Alternative carriers are estimated to have a market share slightly below 5 percent. Greece opened up its telecommunications sector in 2001, in the process attracting a large number of would-be operators hoping to capture a slice of the lucrative telecommunications market and cash in on rising demand for more sophisticated and competitively priced services. The increased traffic handled by alternative carriers underscored the benefits of a free and competitive market, the regulatory watchdog said. Eleven companies – Algonet, Cosmoline, Forthnet, Grapes, InfoQuest, Lannet, Southgate, Starcom, Teledome, Telepassport and Vivodi – accounted for the total volume of traffic in September-October. Forthnet, with a 2 percent market share, is aiming to lift this to 5 percent by 2005, making it the most serious contender to OTE. InfoQuest, which offers both fixed and mobile telephony services, is another operator hoping to stand out. EETT said last week that it hoped fixed-to-mobile rates would come down by 30 percent over the next two years, with the onus on OTE and mobile operators CosmOTE and Vodafone-Panafon to reduce their rates. All three companies have been designated as operators with significant power.