Final Word from Thursday, July 24, 2003

GTS has been calling for the Telecoms Office to reduce the fixed-to-mobile interconnect fee, and Contactel is now concerned that the full takeover by Český Telecom of Eurotel will allow Telecom to tighten its grip on the fixed market. Telecom insists that the two companies will continue to operate separately, but they could in theory collude to squeeze out the other fixed players. Contactel wants antitrust conditions imposed on the takeover, and Patria Finance said this can't be ruled out. However, the danger exists for alternative operators that if restrictions are put on the fixed-to-mobile arrangement, Eurotel and T-Mobile will decide to make greater use of their own fixed licenses. If they became full-fledged alternative fixed-line operators, their marketing and financial clout could pose a threat not only to GTS and Contactel, but also to Telecom itself.


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