Croatia’s dominant telecoms group T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) has reported a 6.2% year-on-year fall in consolidated revenues in the first quarter of 2014 to HRK1.607 billion (USD292 million), while quarterly net profit declined by 16.5% to HRK199 million. The voice segment recorded an 18.7% y-o-y revenue decline, which was partially moderated by 3.9% growth of non-voice revenue and 20.8% growth in ICT service revenue. In the non-voice segment, growth of mobile broadband and TV revenue continued. CEO Davor Tomaskovic said in a statement that Croatia’s protracted economic crisis and regulatory changes – causing reductions in international roaming and wholesale call termination income – continue to have a strong impact on the company’s performance, although adding that ‘T-HT holds a firm leading position on the Croatian telecommunications market and the results of the first quarter are in line with our business plans,’ while also noting that T-HT would continue looking for potential opportunities for expansion domestically and regionally in southeast Europe to offset the downward financial performance trend. The quarterly statement also referred to the recent announcement by the Croatian finance ministry that annual mobile spectrum fees will be significantly increased – with T-HT warning that the move would force it to cut investments and raise mobile end-user tariffs: ‘The increase in the annual cost for frequencies is of such significance that all our previous plans for investments and development of new networks, services, and technologies would have to be significantly reduced. In order to mitigate the negative impact of such a considerable cost increase and ensure business sustainability, jobs and investments in development, Hrvatski Telekom has no other option but to include such an increase into prices for mobile services.’ Croatian rival operator VIPnet similarly stated recently that the government’s frequency fees increase would result in mobile service price rises.
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