Updated: June 2015
Telenor Serbia became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telenor on 31 August 2006 through the acquisition of Mobi 63 d.o.o. Telenor Serbia offers advanced voice and non-voice services to subscribers on both a prepaid and contract basis. Non-voice services include SMS, MMS, mobile content services and internet service. As at 31 March 2015, Telenor Serbia had a total of 3.1 million mobile subscriptions. As at 31 March 2015, the mobile penetration (SIM cards) and number of inhabitants in Serbia were 129% and 7.1 million, respectively.
Telenor Serbia currently holds 10-year technology neutral licences for 2G/3G/4G service provisioning which commenced on 31 August 2006, and are renewable for a successive 10 year period. In January 2010, Telenor Serbia acquired a licence for public fixed-line telecommunications networks and services. The licence was issued for 10 years, with a possibility of extending the licence validity period for another 10 years in accordance with regulatory framework that is in effect until 2030.
In addition to Telenor Serbia, there are two other mobile operators in Serbia: Telekom Srbija, a state owned operator (MTS), and VIP mobile, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mobilkom Austria. Both MTS and VIP mobile hold GSM and UMTS licences. Telenor Serbia estimates that it had a market share of approximately 34.6% as at 31 March 2015. As at 31 March 2015, the market leader, MTS, had an estimated market share of 42.2% and VIP mobile had a market share of 23.2%. Another operator, SBB, is registered as an MVNO; however, the provision of mobile services by SBB is currently on hold due to various objections raised by Telekom Srbija to SBB’s participation in the Serbian MNP process. In addition, Telekom Srbija and Media Works (a member of Greenhouse Telecommunications Holding) acquired a CDMA 450 (FWA) licence in May 2009.
In 2011, the Republic Agency for Telecommunications (RATEL) designated Telenor as a SMP operator in the market for termination in mobile networks. At RATEL’s request, Telenor Serbia submitted a reference interconnection offer whereby set-up fees in an amount of 0.29 Serbian Dinars were abolished and a symmetrical approach to MTRs for all three mobile operators was maintained. In mid-2013, RATEL legislated for the regulation of MTR prices for 2014 and 2015. With effect from 1 January 2014, the MTR is RSD 3.95 per minute, which lowered to RSD 3.43 per minute with effect from 1 January 2015. RATEL announced a new MTR glide path starting from 1 January 2016.
Telenor was also designated as a SMP operator in the market for termination in fixed networks in December 2014. The level of FTR was regulated (0,62 RSD/min) and reference offer was published. On 1 September 2014 SMS Interconnection was introduced between Telenor Serbia and MTS at a price of RSD 2. On 4 May 2015 RATEL issued a decision under which Vip mobile should implement SMS Interconnection from 1 June 2015.
Roaming regulations were initiated based on the regional agreement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The Telecoms Ministers of these four countries were signatories to the agreement while four regulatory bodies have defined the glide path for roaming charges, starting from 30 June 2015. Due to legal irregularities, Vip mobile has filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court. Telenor and Telekom Srbija maintain a common approach to implemented regulated price as additional price.
Technology neutrality was implemented in December 2014. This allowed Telenor to start UMTS 900 and to increase 3G coverage by more than 10% in January 2015. Technology neutrality was also the first step towards 4G in Serbia.
Due to interference caused by digital enhanced cordless telecommunication handsets within the 2100 MHz band, Telenor Serbia requested from RATEL a move to the upper interference-free 2011 MHz band. This request was granted and it allows Telenor to remain in the new band until September 2015. Telenor will file a request for permanent relocation in the upper 15MHz band since the interference was not removed from Telenor’s original band.
The 1800 MHz spectrum auction was conducted during February 2015 and in this process Telenor acquired an additional 10 MHz. The licence for the new band was issued on 5 March 2015 and this, combined with technology neutrality, allowed Telenor to start LTE on 25 March 2015.
The Telecoms Ministry also announced a spectrum auction for the 800 MHz band and the remaining 5 MHz spectrum on 1800 MHz. If projected timelines remain, the spectrum auction could be announced on 1 July 2015 and conducted during August. Price expectations from the entire auction remain high (75-100 MEUR).