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T-2 Dumps Telekom, Switching to Simobil's Mobile Network

Ljubljana, 05 April (STA) - Telecommunication services provider T-2 announced on Thursday it would not longer use the mobile network of national telco Telekom Slovenije and is switching instead to Simobil, the second biggest mobile network operator in the country.

T-2, which offers IP and mobile telephony, TV and broadband internet services, but only secures 35% coverage with its own mobile network, will not extend the contract with Telekom, with whom it is involved in a bitter dispute regarding access to Telekom's fixed-line network.

The cooperation with Simobil, starting on 8 April, will provide T-2 users with 90% mobile broadband coverage and 99.6% coverage for conventional phone services in Slovenia, the company said.

"Mobile telephony is an important segment of our business... The development of services itself calls for a convergence among services, like for instance in the case of mobile TV, which is why we hope for successful long-term cooperation with Simobil," T-2 head Sašo Todorović said.

Business daily Finance reported that T-2 and Simobil signed a four-year deal worth EUR 1.5m a year.

Telekom Slovenije, which recently merged with its mobile arm Mobitel, told the STA that it could not discriminate against other operators and thus was in no position to meet the wishes of T-2.

The decision of T-2, which is undergoing court-mandated debt restructuring, has given rise to speculation that the company might eventually be taken over by the Telekom Austria group, which also controls Simobil.

This would allow Simobil to expand to fixed-line phone services and fixed-line internet and TV services, which would make it an even tougher rival for the state-owned Telekom Slovenije.

Finance has moreover reported that T-2 has also been eyed by Amisco NV from Belgium (owner of Slovenian internet services provider Amis) and the British GMT fund, which mostly invests into European communication companies.

T-2 was founded in 2004 and passed into the hands of telecommunications infrastructure company Gratel in May 2011, after the collapse of its owners, the church-owned Zvon funds.

The company has accused Telekom of stifling competition in the fixed-line market and filed a EUR 120m damages suit against the telecoms incumbent in 2010.

Telekom has meanwhile accused T-2 of failing to pay network fees, using this to launch an unsuccessful attempt to initiate receivership proceedings at the Maribor-based company.

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