Within this package, three users can talk to each other for only US$0.01 per minute, without a connection fee.
The package is designed for users who look for lower cost to talk with family members and friends, and each card has US$0.40 of initial credit.
For each top-up of more than US$4, the user will get a chance to participate in a contest to win a TV set in a weekly drawing and a Fiat Punto in the monthly draw.
The government officials have stated that Serbia may decide not to sell a 51% stake in Telekom Srbija if bidders offer less than the minimum price of US$1.9 billion.
According to the officials, they will not sell it at any cost. If offers are below minimum price then they will say that the tender had failed.
Four firms are seen as expected bidders in the sale, for which Belgrade has set 21 March as a deadline for binding bids.
The official added that Deutsche Telekom, Telekom Austria, VimpelCom and Weather Investments would be likely bidders. France Telecom has already left, while America Movil and Turkcell are almost certain to pull out.
Turkcell and France Telecom have stated that they would not be bidding as the prices are too high.
The company’s revenues for 2010 dropped by 3.1% to US$6.34 billion while profits increased by 106% to US$266 million. Net debt also fell by 9% to US$4.5 billion.
Austria (-4%), Bulgaria (-8%) and Croatia (-5%) showed a slight decline in revenues, whereas Belarus and the Additional Markets segments (Slovenia, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Macedonia and Liechtenstein) recorded a growth of 14% and 8% respectively.
According to Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO Telekom Austria Group, for the first time in 13 years, they were able to return to fixed line customer growth. This demonstrates the effectiveness of their convergence strategy, which they are currently dedicated to implementing in their two largest markets Austria and Bulgaria.
Hannes added that against the backdrop of a challenging market environment,they have adopted the necessary measures – such as the merger of their fixed line and mobile communication operations in Austria – to realize selective growth opportunities going forward. In the years to come, they will have to tackle a number of issues with regard to regulation and competition.
However, they are confident to achieve their targets over the mid-term. The main goal is to secure the Group’s market leadership in Central and Southeastern Europe and to become the most efficient and innovative telecom operator in this region.
At year-end 2010, the Telekom Austria Group had 22 million customers across its operations in 8 countries of Central and Southeastern Europe, a market with 41 million inhabitants.
Serbian mobile network operator, Telenor has introduced a new mobile payment service called PlatiMo. The service will allow customers to pay their bills and perform other financial services via their mobile phones directly from their bank accounts. It is based on G&D’s SIM cards and SmartTrust Over-the-Air (OTA) server software along with Halcom’s mobile payment system.
The Telenor mobile payments scheme has so far attracted the involvement of four banks: Komercijalna bank, Erste Bank, Credit Agricole and Raiffeisen Bank. These four banks between them serve more than 50% of the Serbian market.
Telenor and the partner banks are currently in discussions with merchants and are eager for them to join the scheme as quickly as possible.
For now, subscribers can pay mobile phone bills issued by Telenor, send money to other PlatiMo users, make online purchases, buy airplane tickets via the call centre of Serbia’s largest national air company JAT Airways and top up their prepaid accounts in the Telenor network.
In addition, all PlatiMo users will have access to e-government services through the scheme and will be able to order personal documents, such as birth or citizenship certificates.
There are four Smart Team Plus packages – 5, 15, 25 and 50 as well as more packages for internet and SMS.
The SMS Unlimited option, for US$4.07 per month, allows unlimited messaging to all networks in Montenegro and Serbia.
The Internet 5 option, costing US$6.7, delivers 250 MB of internet traffic per month, while Internet Unlimited provides unlimited internet traffic for US$20.38 per month. However, if traffic exceeds 2 GB, the speed is reduced to 128 Kbps.
A selection of Nokia phones (C5-03, C3 and C3-00-01) are available with the agreements, costing from US$1.35 to US$216.
The sale is expected to take place during the upcoming international tender of the Serbian state-owned telecoms company.
According to reports, OTE has sent a letter to the Serbian government, confirming that it is ready to sell its shares as part of a package that will be offered to interested investors.
The new investor – according to plans will pay at least US$1.9 billion for a 51% stake in the company, with 31% coming from the government, and 20% from OTE. The deadline for submitting bids has been set for 21 March.
Russia’s MTS has confirmed that the company is in talks with other telecoms networks for a possible merger, without naming any of the potential partners.
Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the CEO of MTS’s controlling shareholder, Sistema confirmed the talks.
MTS chief executive Mikhail Shamolin had previously suggested that the company would be interested in buying out South Korea based Korea Telecom’s 80% stake in Russia-focused New Telephone Co., but that would not give the company the international scope it has long craved.
Last year, it was rumored that the Sistema Group was looking to buy the Telekom Austria Group in a deal worth in excess of US$6 billion. The Austrian state owned holding company, OeIAG holds 27% of the company, and previously looked to sell the stake.
Telekom Austria has operations in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Macedonia, Belarus and Czech Republic. MTS also operates in Belarus, and the local government would almost certainly require that MTS sells one of its two networks in the country if it were to buy Telekom Austria.
MTS and its subsidiaries in Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan currently have over 108 million subscribers.
Serbian press reported that Hellenic Telecommunications decided to sell its 20% stake in Telekom Srbja, according to Proton Bank.
In its morning report, Proton says that Serbian government stated that it could sell a 31% stake in the operator instead of 51%, if OTE was to sell its stake.
The starting price was set at EUR1.4bn for the 51% stake, implying EUR2.7bn for the whole company and EUR549mn for 20% stake owned by OTE.
France Telecom is not expected to place a bid as the price is considered too high, while Vimpelcom decided to make an offer, according to the reports.
The deadline for the submission of bids is set on March 21.
According to the company’s spokesperson, they have studied the tender offer but decided not to take part in the bidding process notably because they considered the asking price too high.
Final bids are expected at the end of March.