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New operator on horizon?

THE STATE-managed Slovenská Pošta is considering entering the mobile market and extending its core business of distributing letters and parcels to include mobile services. It may focus on the older generation and hopes that its well-known brand will help it penetrate the market.

THE STATE-managed Slovenská Pošta is considering entering the mobile market and extending its core business of distributing letters and parcels to include mobile services. It may focus on the older generation and hopes that its well-known brand will help it penetrate the market.

“We are interested,” Tomáš Drucker, general director of Slovenská Pošta, told the Hospodárske Noviny daily on April 7, adding that the definitive decision should be made within some weeks.

Slovakia does not have a ‘real’ mobile virtual network operator, i.e. a mobile phone operator that provides services using assets leased from an existing mobile network operator, but there are two branded resellers, FunFón and Tesco Mobile. These have about 200,000 clients, which is still only a fraction of millions of clients using the services of the three big players, Slovak Telekom, Orange Slovensko and Telefónica Slovakia, which provides services under the O2 brand.

According to IT expert Roman Calík, Slovakia’s market is too small for virtual operators and the big operators already create a sufficient offer. Additionally, a conservative approach by Slovaks more trusting of established brands may play a role in establishing a new operator, too. This factor gives Slovenská Pošta a competitive advantage over other potentially interested operators. As Ondrej Macko, the editor-in-chief of PC Revue magazine, explained, older people especially associate Slovenská Pošta with telecommunications due to its past operation, and because of this, it has a chance of succeeding.

Thus, telecom experts view Slovenská Pošta’s possible decision to become a strong virtual operator positively.

“Slovenská Pošta has a chance to become a strong virtual operator,” said Calík. “This is because it has a huge network of branch offices and the trust of the people, which may be decisive for success.”

To become a successful operator, Slovenská Pošta has to cooperate with any of the big operators, according to Hospodárske Noviny. Drucker did not specify the ongoing negotiations, while he excluded none of the operators, including the newest one, Swan. Miroslav Strečanský, general director of Swan, confirmed talks with Slovenská Pošta for the daily.

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