ECONOMY

OTE cuts broadband rates as rivals offer more services

Greece’s largest telecoms group OTE said yesterday it will cut rates for its fast Internet services as part of its plans to boost broadband usage in the country and increase profits. OTE will reduce its ADSL charges by between 5 and 7 percent as of February 1, marking a reduction of up to 67 percent in rates in the last three-and-a-half years, the company said in a statement. OTE has also lowered its charges to mobile networks by 8 percent on average since Monday to boost phone usage. The changes come as OTE, which has lost market share to competitors since Greece liberalized its telecoms sector in 2001, seeks to implement a wider plan to make it attractive to foreign investors. One of OTE’s local competitors, Forthnet, is about to offer a new broadband service, also allowing its users to make unlimited free telephone calls without paying monthly charges to OTE. The company has delayed the provision of this service by a few weeks to ensure it reaches more areas than its competitors. Rival service providers Tellas and Vivodi have already announced the operation of such a service. The main conditions for the supply of this service are the existence of the telecommunication infrastructure required and the agreement with OTE for the so-called joint installation and the «local loop unbundling,» which market officials estimate to be available for about 35 areas in Greece, mainly in Attica. Forthnet’s investment plan comes up to 250 million euros, providing for the installation of a 160-kilometer fiberoptic network in Athens in the year’s first half. (Reuters, Kathimerini)