2K Telecom, one of the five bidders in Romania’s recently closed Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable spectrum auction, plans to launch its new 4G network in early 2014, HotNews.ro reports, citing an interview with controlling shareholder Alexandru Ghita. While the majority of the bidders who participated in ANCOM’s spectrum auction are already prominent presences within the domestic wireless market, 2K Telecom is something of an unknown quantity. The broadband provider, which was founded by local business man Sebastian Ghita in 2000, claims to operate a nationwide data network, with coverage in most cities and towns of over 10,000 inhabitants. While its primary focus is thought to be the enterprise market, 2K also offers wholesale WiMAX connectivity in partnership with a number of other companies. Ghita told HotNews: ‘Trying to build dedicated 4G broadband infrastructure in both large cities and rural areas comes with a new business model: wholesale … We will focus on building the infrastructure and the network, and any partner, be [they] in the retail area or a telco, can buy these services from us and package products under their own brand’. When quizzed on the company’s shift from WiMAX to LTE Ghita admitted: ‘WiMAX was a breakthrough. [However, it is] not supported by large operators, and did not reach the volumes needed to launch mass products, so there are no smartphones. I have a smartphone prototype [in my] office that I can connect to the WiMAX network, but it is a prototype and it is very expensive, and not cost-effective enough to launch’.
Ghita added that 2K could conceivably inaugurate its LTE network earlier than 2014, although that decision lies in the hands of regulator, ANCOM. Prior to the LTE auction’s conclusion, 2K inked memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Chinese telecoms vendor Huawei Technologies and financial institution Export-Import Bank of China (Eximbank). 2K Telecom is currently owned by Alexandru Ghita (the brother of founder Sebastian Ghita, 67.12%), Basil Domenti (the Ghita brothers’ uncle, 8.05%) and Vasile Radu (24.83%).