Kosovo should crack down on unauthorised mobile operators and get an international country code if it wants to make telecoms privatisation more attractive to foreign investors, the manager of Post and Telecom Kosovo (PTK) has told the international press. ‘There are a lot of illegal operators mainly from Serbia and we are losing around 200,000 potential consumers,’ Shyqyri Haxha, executive director of PTK said in an interview. ‘For foreign investors the main thing is to eliminate those illegal operators. This will increase the value of the company.’
As with many aspects of Kosovo’s economy, the unauthorised wireless networks are a hangover from the tangled political situation in a country that declared independence two years ago. Serbia does not recognise Kosovan independence, and some Serbian cellcos have erected base stations in Serb-majority areas. The Pristina government has issued just two mobile licences, one to PTK and the other to Telekom Slovenije subsidiary IPKO.
Kosovo expects to launch a tender for a stake in PTK in June and announce a winner in August or September. Last week the state held an investors conference on the tender and companies including Hrvatski Telecom of Croatia (itself owned by Deutsche Telekom), Telekom Austria, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom and the UK’s Cable & Wireless attended.