ECONOMY

In Brief

Vodafone and Stet to go for parity with CosmOTE in 2004 Games Mobile firms Stet Hellas and Vodafone-Panafon said yesterday they were in talks with organizers for full access to 2004 Olympic Games venue sites, now only available to Games sponsor CosmOTE. CosmOTE, Greece’s largest mobile firm by market share, has exclusive rights to install base stations at key points in indoor venues. Vodafone-Panafon and Stet Hellas said they are also hoping to win access to the venues, arguing it is necessary to handle an expected surge in voice traffic and also to meet third-generation license provisions. «The discussions and procedures have picked up speed in recent days and we believe we’ll be ready for the Games,» Vodafone-Panafon investors relations officer Maria Kaini told Reuters. Stet Hellas confirmed it was also in talks with organizers to set up its base stations at Olympic venues. One of the requirements of third-generation (3G) licenses the three mobile operators won in 2001 is that they provide coverage for the Olympic Games. The companies expect to roll out their 3G networks next year ahead of the Games. (Reuters) CosmOTE and Scancom in duel for Cyprus’s second GSM license NICOSIA (Reuters) – Two companies will compete for Cyprus’s first non-government mobile phone GSM license in an auction scheduled for October 29, regulators announced yesterday in the official gazette. The two bidders will be CosmOTE Telecommunications (Cyprus), part of Greece’s CosmOTE, and Scancom (Cyprus). A third company that had applied to participate – Atlantic Crest Investment, with links to Monaco Telecom – was not on the list. The starting price for bids has been set at 5.7 million Cyprus pounds ($11.4 million) and the winner will get a license valid for 20 years. The newcomer will compete for market share with CyTA, the state-controlled company that now has a monopoly on mobile telephony. The bidding will take place in an ascending-round auction. Telecoms regulator Vassos Pyrgos told Reuters in an interview this week that the auction may take longer than one day, depending on the number of rounds. Cyprus will be able to offer another GSM license for bidding only if the newcomer clinches a 25 percent share of the local market or after five years have lapsed. Athens-Sydney Flights to Australia from Greece are to start again from November 23, nearly a year after they were suspended, thanks to a deal between Olympic Airways and Gulf Air, the managing directors of the two carriers said yesterday. The daily Athens-Sydney flights will stop over in Bahrain and will be conducted by Gulf Air airbuses, they said. They added that the crew on all flights will include Greek-speaking staff and that the prices will be competitive. OA decided to cut its Australia service last November due to reduced bookings on the route. Minoan Ferry operator Minoan Lines said it had agreed to sell ferry Prometheus to Italy’s Caronte & Tourist Spa for an undisclosed amount in a move to reduce debt and improve liquidity. The vessel, currently chartered to Caronte until Jan. 10, 2004, is servicing the Livorno-Catania sea route. The ship will be delivered to its new owners in January next year. (Reuters)