Stet Hellas calls for parity

Mobile firm Stet Hellas, operating under the Telestet label, yesterday strongly complained about obstacles being raised to its installation of antennae in Olympic facilities and the adequacy of relevant regulations being prepared. Stet Hellas Managing Director Nikos Varsakis told a press briefing that if his company is not allowed to install antennae in Olympic venues in time, it will face serious problems in adequately serving its subscribers during the events. He charged that Olympic project contractors were giving priority to rival and market leader CosmOTE, a subsidiary of OTE Telecom which is largely owned by the State. He said if a solution is not found before the end of the year, legal action may be taken. Operator Vodafone-Panafon, which has second largest market share, aired similar complaints earlier this month but said discussions and procedures were making progress and it believed it would be ready for the Games. One of the conditions of the third-generation (3G) licenses that the three mobile operators operators have obtained is that they provide adequate capacity to meet service requirements during the Olympics. Varsakis said Telestet is currently implementing a trial program of 3G services that will be ready for commercial launch early next year. He said its 3G network will cover 25 percent of Greece’s population and that the cost will be the same as per the current GSM network. A crucial factor for the success of the 3G launch will be high-quality services such as fast Internet and multimedia, he said. Stet Hellas, 82 percent owned by Telecom Italia Mobile, has said it plans to invest around 300 million euros in 3G technology in Greece in the next four years. Varsakis said he did not expect that users will be able to switch operator and keep the same number before the end of the year, as the national regulator (EETT) is still studying the matter. Finally, he ruled out Stet Hellas being listed on the Athens bourse. The firm is already listed in New York and Amsterdam.