Updated: August 2013
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 HSPA, to its subscribers on both a prepaid and contract basis. As at 31 March 2013, Telenor Montenegro had 372,000 mobile subscriptions. As at 31 March 2013, the mobile penetration (SIM cards) and number of inhabitants in Montenegro were 155.7% and 0.6 million, respectively.
Network and licences
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 31 March 2013, Telenor’s GSM network had geographical coverage of approximately 92% and population coverage of approximately 99%. The 3G network was launched in June 2007 and, as at 31 March 2013, covered 97% of the population. 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 January 2012, Telenor Montenegro won a tender for vacant spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, valid for five years. In October 2012, the Agency for Electronic Communication and Postal Services (the Agency) renewed the WiMax 3.7GHz license for the next five years. In November 2012, the commercial LTE 1800MHz network was launched, with population coverage of 22%.
Telenor is Montenegro’s largest provider of mobile communication services, with an estimated subscription market share of 38.5% as at 31 March 2013. 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 2013 was 35.3% and 26.2% respectively. T-Mobile is majority owned by the T-Group through Magyar Telecom in Hungary. M:Tel is owned by a consortium of Telekom Serbia and Ogalar. 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 came into force in August 2008 and remains in force. In accordance with the provisions of this law, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication and the Agency introduced several rulebooks related to mobile number portability, prepaid customer registration and universal service obligations. The Agency will also have to carry out market analysis for a number of relevant markets in order to designate SMP providers and impose appropriate remedies – a methodology in line with the EU regulatory framework. The government has now proposed a new draft of the Law on Electronic Communications, which is based on the EU regulatory framework but stricter than the 2008 law, especially regarding high penalties. The government is expecting a second round of market analysis and cost accounting, to be conducted by the regulator, which may result in additional obligations on SMP operators.