One aspect worth mentioning is the entrance of Deutsche Telekom into the shareholding structure of Romtelecom and Cosmote, after buying a stake in the Greek Group OTE which controls these subsidiaries.
Deutsche Telekom is also a shareholder in the telecom retailer Germanos, which has been acquired at an international level by Cosmote.
Romtelecom, the largest landline operator, has won the bid organized by the National Authority for the Regulation of Communications and Information Technology (ANRCTI) for the license to use mobile communication frequencies of 410-415 and 420-425 MHZ, which will allow the company to enter on the mobile internet market. In addition, the company has invested in developing several aggressive offers such as Voce Mobil, Voce International and Voce Total on the voice segment and also aggressive offers on the data segment, which are also expected to poach customers from rivals.
Still this year, Romtelecom slashed 2,500 jobs in a move to keep rigorous tabs on the costs and consolidate its position on the market. The company improved its internal processes, and services in order to increase its client portfolio. Romtelecom invested in achieving solid growth on the broadband & data and television via satellite segments. On top of this, it planned to increase the number of customers who used landline voice services. Also of interest to Romtelecom was the continuation of its collaboration with Cosmote, which translated into convergent products both for the residential and business segments.
Cosmote, also part of OTE Group, invested EUR 24 million in expansion and development of Iasi-based GSM network, reaching a coverage of 99.8 percent, compared to 70.7 percent registered at the end of 2005, when the telecom operator re-launched mobile telephony services. Last year, the Greek group invested EUR 201 million, most of the amount being used for developing the network. At the end of March 2008, the operator had 4.2 million clients.Orange, the top player on the telecom market in terms of number of customers, announced it would continue to invest in Romania in 2008.
The company's budget included EUR 200 million of investment into network development, improved products and services and new Orange shops. Orange Romania continued to invest in its network by improving and extending 3G, 3G+ and HSUPA services. Also, depending on the market response, the company announced it would extend the 3G+ to 7.2 Mbps in more areas of Bucharest and increase the HSDPA/3G/HSUPA coverage.
Orange also invested in the expansion of its retail network by signing a strategic partnership with MCS Communications, which controls the Say network of 63 stores.
Telecom operator Vodafone Romania, number two on the market, has also made a new addition to its retail network by acquiring the Vegastel 2007 dealership in Botosani. The value of the transaction was not made public but through this transaction Vodafone has acquired 100 percent of the firm.
The dealer owns a network of 60 stores, the bulk of which are located in Suceava, Botosani, Vaslui and Bucharest. Vodafone also purchased the major share package of Proton Technologies Suceava, which used to be a dealer of Orange Romania before being taken over by Vodafone. The 73 stores are located mostly in big cities like Suceava, Iasi, Brasov, Constanta, Cluj and Bucharest. Vodafone Romania invested between EUR 100,000 and 500,000 in launching new channels of promotion as part of its mobile advertising service AdPlus, which is expected to bring profit in a year. Vodafone Romania also launched a new offer of mobile internet and e-mail access that targets both residential customers and SMEs.
Among cable operators, UPC Romania announced the company would invest EUR 40 million in network improvement and expansion of digital and cable TV services in all the major cities in Romania. In 2007, the company invested EUR 45 million in re-branding and network improvement.