Slovak Telekom (ST) has reported that in the first quarter of 2012 its consolidated revenues fell by 3.5% year-on-year to EUR206.2 million (USD267.0 million), which it blamed on regulatory factors and a highly competitive, mature telecoms market. Group EBITDA was down 8.8% at EUR86.1 million, while the group’s total mobile customers decreased by 2.1% in twelve months to 2.31 million at 31 March 2012, with post-paid subscribers falling by 0.5% to 1.45 million, although smartphone penetration continued to climb to reach 75% of ST’s total mobile user base. The telco’s fixed lines in service dropped by 4% y-o-y to 1.01 million, while fixed broadband lines grew by 4.2% to 468,000 and its pay-TV base increased by 19% to 162,000.
Also this week, ST stated that it disagrees with preliminary findings of a European Commission (EC) investigation which suggested that it abused its dominant position in the Slovak broadband market by obstructing access to its local loop infrastructure and ‘margin squeezing’ on wholesale network access prices to prevent smaller operators competing effectively. ST asserted that local broadband market competition is fully developed, with low broadband prices which continue to fall, and that its businesses are in full compliance with European competition rules, while local courts have repeatedly ruled in its favour in cases of alleged infringements of competition as its conditions of access are ‘fair and non discriminatory.’ ST added that alternative providers account for nearly 60% of the market in Slovakia and pointed out that altnets operate their own networks based on technologies such as fibre, cable and mobile.