The +383 international dialling code allocated to Kosovo by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 15 December 2016 was used for the first time last week, Prishtina Insight writes. Agron Mustafa, the director of state-owned incumbent Post and Telecommunications Kosovo (PTK) – which offers services under the Kosovo Telecom and Vala brands – demonstrated the call, adding that the operator and its competitors had been authorised by sector watchdog the Regulatory Authority for Post and Electronic Communications (Autoriteti Rregullator i Komunikimeve Elektronike dhe Postare, ARKEP) to begin using the code. The official explained that it would take around 18 months to replace the existing codes. At present, PTK uses Serbia’s +381 code for landline calls and Monaco’s +377 code for mobile calls, whilst its Telekom Slovenije-owned rival, IPKO, uses Slovenia’s +386 prefix. Subscribers to PTK’s mobile service can use the new code straight away, and Mr Mustafa expects the Serbian code used for landlines to be replaced by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Mehdi Latifi, PTK’s technical director and the company’s representative in the Brussels-mediated dialogue with Serbia, added requests have been sent to international operators to apply the new code immediately: ‘Today we made our first step and wrote to international operators, who we have contractual relations with, to open the routes for the number +383 to us’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the allocation of the new code is part of a long-awaited agreement with Serbia under which Serbian state-owned operator Telekom Srbija (MTS) will be issued a temporary and limited licensed to provide mobile services in Kosovo. The operator is understood to have unofficially offered mobile services in the north of Kosovo via base stations near the border since 2010, when the Kosovar telecoms regulator removed the cellco’s equipment within the territory of the republic.