ECONOMY

More options in operators

More than a year after market deregulation, Greek consumers are already tasting the fruits of a free market, able to choose from as many as 10 operators for local or long-distance calls, the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) said in its annual review of 2001. Greeks from all over the country have direct access to one of three operators while 74 percent of the population can reach four operators and 44 percent have a choice of five carriers to choose from, EETT Chairman Emmanouil Giakoumakis said. Greece opened up the telecommunications market on January 1, 2001. He said four operators currently offer countrywide facilities for local calls, five are able to reach 67 percent of the population and seven companies, 44 percent of the population. The choice is even greater for long-distance and international calls, with seven operators providing services nationwide and 10 companies serving 44 percent of the population. Giakoumakis said market liberalization has enriched both telecoms operators and the State. «Revenues from the sector, including fixed telephony and mobile telephony services, leased lines and data services, rose 12.2 percent to 5.1 billion euros in 2001,» he said. The sector also yielded revenues of 710 million euros for the state coffers. Giakoumakis said fixed-to-mobile tariffs could be revised downward at the end of the year depending on the recommendations of a study due mid-July. Mobile rates at mobile phone operators Panafon and CosmOTE are also due to fall by year-end after the commission last month said the two companies have significant power in the local market and thus need to bring rates down. Bids will be ranked up to 90 percent on price, the agency spokeswoman said, with a business plan accounting for 10 percent of the valuation, of which 5 percent would be for planned investment and another 5 for employment plans.