OTE to lower call rates and up PSTN and ISDN charges

OTE, Greece’s main telecoms operator, said yesterday it will launch cheaper packages to lift its market share but will also raise monthly line rental fees, which analysts said will boost revenues. The new bundled packages are cheaper by between 19 to 31 percent for both local and long-distance calls compared with current rates, OTE said in a statement. Monthly rental charges for PSTN and ISDN lines will increase by 0.50 euros, it added. OTE last raised monthly charges, which accounted for a quarter of the operator’s revenues in 2005, in August. Last month management forecast an annual 1.5-2.5 percent drop in fixed-line revenues over the next three years as users switch to mobile and other operators. Analysts welcomed OTE’s move to boost its market share, which fell to 73 percent at the end of December from 75 percent a year earlier. «We are positive on any market share protection initiatives OTE takes,» said analyst Vassilis Kararizos at Proton Securities who has an «outperform» rating and a target price of 21.70 euros on the stock. OTE said the monthly rate increase and new packages will be effective as of April 3 and will be subject to the telecoms regulator’s approval. (Reuters)