ECONOMY

In Brief

TIM and Vodafone in race against time to be ready for Olympics Mobile operators Vodafone and Stet Hellas – which operates under the TIM service trademark – are in a race against time to complete planned investment to meet the increased service requirements during the Olympic Games. Stet officials told a press briefing that they expect 2 million foreign visitors will be in Greece during the events in August, which means that demand for voice traffic will be up to six times greater than normal and data traffic up to 10 times more. They complained that Stet and Vodafone, which act jointly, are facing tremendous obstacles from Olympic and public officials in their effort to be ready for the Games. Stet says it has invested 15 million euros in equipment which is still in storage and has only been able to complete installations at two of the 27 venues. Athens 2004, the organizers, has told the two mobile operators to complete installations by July 1, that is, in about seven weeks. The main problem lies in the fact that they can only start work on the base stations after the Olympic installations are all ready. «If there is no initiative for solving pending issues within a week, there will be phenomena of overloading in the mobile networks and inability in the operation of the service,» the Stet officials warned. Olympic electronic security systems ready within two months Electronic and telecommunications security systems for the Olympic Games will be delivered at the end of the month but further work will be required before they are operational, officials of the consortium led by US company SAIC told a press briefing yesterday. David Tubbs, SAIC’s vice president, said there were certain delays due to the technical details of «the largest and most complex electronic security project ever applied internationally in peacetime.» He said technical control of particular systems and the last stage of personnel training will begin in the coming days, and the system will be fully operational in the next two months. Tubbs said SAIC had not yet submitted any demand for extra costs of the 255-million-euro project. CosmOTE Q1 results Mobile operator CosmOTE, Greece’s market leader, yesterday reported first-quarter group net profit growth of 27.1 percent to 68.28 million euros, with core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) up 20.3 percent to 152.8 million. The firm said it is raising full-year targets, expecting a positive impact from the Olympic Games, for which it is a Grand National Sponsor, and continuing usage growth. Group sales rose 20.6 percent to 358.45 million euros, driven by a 42 percent surge in domestic traffic volume, offsetting tariff cuts. CosmOTE said it added 106,465 users in the first quarter, bringing its total customer numbers to about 4 million. The operator’s Albanian subsidiary, AMC, posted a 16.9 percent rise in net profit to 8.16 million euros, with sales up 9.3 percent to 27 million euros, better than expected. CosmOTE is 59 percent owned by Greece’s main fixed-line operator OTE.