United Group launches new south-east Europe wholesale operat

United Group launches new south-east Europe wholesale operation

29 April 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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United Group, the telecoms and cloud company operating in south-eastern Europe, has hired Paolo Ficini from Sparkle to lead its new wholesale division.

UGI Wholesale will be based in Greece and will consolidate all the group’s wholesale activities into a single unit, covering data services, roaming and mobile services, as well as wholesale voice.

Victoriya Boklag (pictured), CEO of United Group, said: “We are the only independent carrier in the region with such a footprint. As a company we are known for providing services of the highest quality to residential customers and businesses. Now we are expanding into wholesale to bring this same excellence.”

United Group runs Nova — a brand of Forthnet — in Greece; SBB in Serbia; Telemach in Bosnia & Hercegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia; and Vivacom in Bulgaria.

The company, majority owned by London-based investor BC Partners, said that establishing UGI Wholesale “is a significant and logical step in United group’s strategy. The company is well positioned to become a leading player on the regional telecommunications wholesale market.”

United Group’s covers the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece.

Boklag said: “United Group is the natural partner for any company that plans to expand its business in the region or for transiting to or from the main European PoP. This includes everything from backbone needs to a wide variety of services for corporate customers.”

Ficini has not so far commented on his appointment, except to post news on his LinkedIn profile. He had been with the Telecom Italia group for at least 10 years, mainly as CEO of its Med Nautilus unit in Greece and as CEO of TI Sparkle’s director of central and eastern Europe.

BC Partners, a former owner of Intelsat for a number of years from 2008, bought United Group in 2019 for €2.5 billion, and added Bulgaria’s Vivacom later the same year, followed by Forthnet in Greece in 2020.