Updated: June 2016
Telenor Montenegro was established in 1996, as Montenegro’s first mobile operator, under the name Promonte. Promonte was rebranded as Telenor Montenegro on 19 May 2010. Telenor became a shareholder of Promonte in 1996. Since August 2004, Promonte has been wholly-owned by Telenor. Telenor Montenegro primarily offers mobile voice, roaming, value-added services and mobile data services, including LTE, to its subscribers on both a prepaid and contract basis. As at 31 March 2016, Telenor Montenegro had 350,000 mobile subscriptions. As at 31 March 2016, the mobile penetration (SIM cards) and number of inhabitants in Montenegro were 158% and 0.6 million, respectively.
Telenor Montenegro holds a GSM 900 MHz and a GSM 1800 MHz licence. Both licences are scheduled to expire on 31 December 2016. In April 2007, Promonte was awarded a UMTS licence for a period of 15 years. As at 1 April 2016, Telenor’s GSM network had geographical coverage of approximately 94% and population coverage of approximately 99.5%. The 3G network was launched in June 2007 and, as at 1 April 2016, had geographical coverage of approximately 63% and population coverage of approximately 97%. Telenor Montenegro also provides full EDGE coverage in its GSM network. During late 2009 and the beginning of 2010, Telenor Montenegro replaced its entire mobile network. Furthermore, in the fourth quarter of 2010, Telenor Montenegro replaced its service platforms, and also integrated a new billing system during the course of 2011. In November 2012 the commercial LTE 1800MHz network was launched, and as at 1 April 2016, Telenor Montenegro has a geographical coverage of approximately 20% and population coverage of approximately 41%.
In January 2012, Telenor Montenegro won a tender for vacant spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, valid for five years. In December 2013, Telenor Montenegro relinquished a WiMax 3.7GHz licence to the Agency for Electronic Communication and Postal Services (the Agency). In November 2013, the Agency brought a decision on the necessity of conducting an auction process for the 2600 MHz band, but no further steps were taken at that time. In March 2014, the Agency launched a public consultation for the allocation of licences for the 800 MHz spectrum. In September 2014, Telenor Montenegro was the first to request and gain the right of temporary use of some already vacant frequencies of 800MHz in two cities. In March 2015, the Agency publicly announced that it plans a spectrum auction in 2016 where, as well as the new bands of 800MHz and 2600MHz, it will include the renewal process of almost all spectrum resources (900/1800/2100MHz) that Telenor Montenegro and Montenegrin Telekom hold until the end of 2016. It is expected that the auction process will start at the beginning of May, while the auction is to be organized in July 2016.
Telenor is Montenegro’s largest provider of mobile communication services, with an estimated subscription market share of 37.0% as at 31 March 2016. In addition to Telenor, there are two other mobile operators in Montenegro: T-Mobile and M:Tel. Both T-Mobile and M:Tel hold GSM and UMTS licences. The estimated market share of T-Mobile and M:Tel as at 31 March 2016 was 34.0% and 29.0%, respectively. T-Mobile is majority owned by the T-Group through Magyar Telecom in Hungary. M:Tel is majority owned by Telekom Serbia. During 2007, the entry of M:Tel as the third mobile operator had a significant impact on the competitive environment in Montenegro. All three companies are operated and majority owned by companies with international/regional ambitions, and competition is becoming more focused on regional strengths and activities.
A new Law on Electronic Communications (EC Law) came into force on 21 August 2013. The EC Law increases the Agency’s independence, creating a more demanding regulatory environment.
During 2014, the Agency, in consultation with the Ministry for Information, Society and Telecommunications, introduced significant by-laws.
In November 2013, the Agency imposed a national MTR of 2.2 Eurocent/per minute for all mobile operators, which came into effect on 1 March 2014. This was subsequently updated with a new decision in August 2014, when a new price of 1.9 Eurocent/per minute was introduced, which came into force on 1 November 2014. In 2015, the Agency brought a decision setting the new MTR price at 1.18 Eurocent/min starting from 1 January.2016.
Regional roaming regulations were initiated based on the agreement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The Telecoms Ministers of these four countries were signatories of the Agreement, while four Regulators have defined glide path for roaming charges, starting from 30 June 2015. Due to legal irregularities, all mobile operators in Montenegro filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court and requested to postpone the implementation of the decision until the court proceedings were finished. The requests for postponement were rejected, and the regulated prices have been applied.
In June 2014, Telenor Montenegro registered with the Agency as a provider of fixed services, and started commercial offers for business customers from February 2015.
On 20 April 2015, the Agency opened a public tender for the selection of the next Universal Service Operator (USO). Telenor Montenegro is the USO until January 2016. The public tender was open until 2 June 2015. New USO operator (CG Telekom) is chosen by the EC Agency after two tender proceedings. Telenor did not participate on the public tender for the selection of operator of Universal service.