ECONOMY

OTE’s Globul aims high

Bulgaria’s Globul GSM network, wholly owned by Greece’s largest company, OTE Telecom, said yesterday it sought to continue its expansion and hoped to achieve a market share of over 35 percent next year. Globul, the second digital mobile phone operator in the Balkan state of 8 million, launched operations a year ago after OTE won a 15-year license for $135 million in late 2000. Its major competitor is Mobiltel, Bulgaria’s biggest mobile operator, acquired last year by an Austrian consortium. «Globul now has a 20-percent market share, which is a quite substantial achievement for one year,» Globul Executive Director Nikolas Avgerinos told government officials, businessmen and reporters in a presentation to mark Globul’s first anniversary. Avgerinos said Globul’s network, which covered only 25.5 percent of Bulgaria’s population at the start of the operations last September, now covered 63 percent of the population and the coverage was expected to reach 75 percent by the end of the year. Globul’s subscriber numbers have risen to 330,000 in the past year, and are expected to top 500,000 in early 2003. OTE has invested a total of 600 million levs ($299 million) in Globul so far, including for the license. Another 100 million levs were earmarked for investment this year while investment projected for 2003 totaled 150 million levs, Avgerinos said. Globul currently has roaming agreements with 47 mobile operators in 37 countries with the number of active roaming deals expected to top 100 at the end of next year. The company’s staff is expected to increase to 600 by the end of next year from some 400 now. Globul competes against Mobiltel, the GSM operator that was launched in late 1995, and small analog operator Mobikom, in which Britain’s Cable & Wireless holds 49 percent. Mobiltel says its subscriber numbers are expected to reach 1.8 million at the end of the year from more than 1.6 million now. Bulgaria plans to offer a third GSM license as an incentive to potential buyers of 65 percent of BTC, its landline monopoly now being privatized. (Reuters) – Panamax situation similar with only interesting fixture that of M/V «Kouryu,» 64,186 dwt, built 1982, at USD 13,000 daily, delivery Canakkale, Sept. 24-29 trip via Black Sea, redelivery Far East.