Kosovo gets five bids for incumbent PTK

The government of Kosovo said it has received five bids from companies interested in purchasing 75% of state-owned telecoms incumbent Post and Telecom of Kosovo (PTK).

The five bidders are Deutsche Telekom, through partner company Croatia Hrvatski Telekom (HT), Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, Turk Telekom and Calik Group through Albanian partner company AlbTelecom, Telekom Austria and lastly Yemeni mobile network operator SabaFon.

Kosovo said it hopes to conclude the sale of PTK before the end of the year. The Government’s finance minister of Ahmet Shala said he hopes the sale will raise between €300 million and €600 million.

In 2009, PTK won a licence to be the fourth mobile network operator in neighbouring Albania, but as yet has not commenced operations there.

The company has around one million mobile customers in its home market as well as 100,000 fixed-line subscribers. Because it has no officially recognised country code, all international traffic is currently routed through Monaco, Serbia or Slovenia.

Controversy still surrounds relations between Serbian telecoms operators and Kosovo’s government, which has been forcibly removing Serbia-run infrastructure sited on Kosovan territory. The Serbian infrastructure is aimed at providing services to the 120,000 Serbian nationals living in Kosovo. Serbia continues not to recognise Kosovo’s legitimacy as a state, regarding it officially as Serbia’s southernmost province. The breakaway state is now endorsed as a separate entity by 70 countries including the US and 22 out of the EU’s 27 member states.