Vipnet targets growth following Croatia’s accession in to the EU

Vipnet targets growth following Croatia’s accession in to the EU

Vipnet, Croatia’s second-largest mobile operator is expecting to “reap the benefits” of the country’s emergence into full EU membership, its CEO has told Capacity.

Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union on 1 July 2013, and it is now expected the country will be subject to the same pressure other telecoms providers in the region face to meet Europe-wide quality and broadband rollout targets.

Mladen Pejkovic, CEO of Vipnet, the first and oldest subsidiary of Telekom Austria, admitted that 30Mbps speeds for every citizen is a target “not easily met” in a country which is still finding its telecoms feet.

Hrvatski Telekom, the country’s incumbent, was privatised in 1999 while the rest of the market was fully liberalised in 2005.

With its accession to EU membership being played out over the last decade, Pejkovic said: “We had time to plan for the challenge for roaming regulation.”

The Croatian operator also had to agree on quality requirements, as well as roaming conditions as part of increased regulation in Croatia. “We are happy to welcome the regulation which is working for the customer because we believe that this will increase the reputation of the industry.”

The company has expanded aggressively in the last few years and completed the acquisition of three cable operators earlier this month. Pejkovic told Capacity the acquisitions of OKI, Kabelska Televiziia Sibenik (KTS) and the residential customer segment of Metronet was predominately intended to increase the company’s European presence.

It also confirmed to Capacity there are plans in place to upgrade its networks in order to take advantage of the growing trend for triple-play services in Croatia.

These include all aspects of digital TV such as video-on-demand and catch-up, in addition to high-speed internet and voice.

“I believe that the countries’ interest and the commercial interest of operators are perfectly met,” he said.

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