Predrag Kovac, director general of the Communications Regulatory Agency (Regulatorna agencija za komunikacije, RAK) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has suggested that the takeover of local cableco Elta-Kabel by Telekom Srbija-backed m:tel has been rejected by the Council of Competition (Konkurencijsko vijece). The comments were made at a press conference on 10 March, and prompted m:tel officials to argue that the review is still ongoing. A spokesperson for m:tel told Capital.ba: ‘We do not understand why the RAK’s director made false claims at the press conference and went on to comment on a legal process that is not finished, and for which he is not at all competent [to judge]. This can be interpreted as intent to harm m:tel and damage its reputation in a situation where it legitimately and transparently implements its business strategy in accordance with legal procedures.’
Kovac’s comments were seemingly made during a discussion of dominant market players, and follow m:tel’s back-to-back acquisitions of the ISPs TelradNet and Blicnet, both of which received regulatory approval earlier this year.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, m:tel was Bosnia’s second largest broadband operator by subscribers as of December 2018, with a 20.0% market share – well below market leader BH Telecom (34.7%). Blicnet accounted for a 4.0% market share at the same date, narrowly ahead of Elta-Kabel (3.8%).