Telenor ASA (TEL)’s Serbian unit became the country’s top mobile services provider by revenue last year, the first time since entering the market six years ago, as number portability intensified competition.
Telenor d.o.o. took 43.6 percent of almost 847 million euros ($1.06 billion) of total mobile revenue in 2011, dethroning MT:S, the mobile arm of state-owned Telekom Srbija AD, which accounted for 38.8 percent of the total, according to the report by Agency for Electronic Communications today. The third provider, Telekom Austria (TKA) AG’s VIP Mobile, had the remaining 17.6 percent. The combined revenue was 10 percent higher than in 2010.
Serbia’s total of mobile clients reached 10.2 million in 2011, pushing the penetration rate to 143 percent. Mobile services accounted for almost 53 percent of the entire telecommunications market, which grew to 1.6 billion euros in 2011. Other market segments included fixed lines, internet providers, media content distribution and voice-over-Internet protocol.
MT:S remained the biggest by number of users, even as its share of clients fell to 53.6 percent from 56 percent in 2010. Telenor and VIP increased their share of clients to 30.8 percent and 16.3 percent respectively, from 30.3 percent and 13.7 percent in the previous year.
The changes were a continuing trend from recent years, sped up in the second half of 2011 when users were enabled to switch providers without changing mobile phone numbers, the report said.
“Change of operator became easier with the possibility of keeping the existing number, which has fostered competition” and improved service, the agency said. More than 50,000 users have used the option since it became available on July 1.
Lower rates led to longer voice calls, up by an average 14.8 percent, while there were fewer text and multimedia messages. The report also showed post-paid continuing to gain ground against prepaid, reaching 36 percent from 33 percent last year.
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