If one steps away from ringside and mixes with GSM distributors and independent dealers, a sharper profile of each company, EuroTel and Globtel, emerges.
Boris Knopp, manager of EuroTel dealer Mobiltel, said that his customers are middle and high class private people. "Globtel has cheaper rates and makes big business among the lower level of customer," claimed Knopp.
Milan Arpas, owner of Globtel dealer Don-Auto, tends to agree. "Everyone had in their head that EuroTel is for rich people, so all business people bought EuroTel." But market security made the company smug, according to Arpas. "They were alone on the market, and people said they thought the client for EuroTel was not the first," said Arpas. "I think Globtel has done a good thing with price and services."
Arpas's diagnosis is confirmed by Jaroslav Novoveský, sales manager at Rasco Ltd, the official outlet for Motorola mobile phones in Slovakia. "People aren't satisfied with EuroTel's financial services," he said. "They were an old group who acted aggressively and had a monopoly...there is a little bit of arrogance there."
Jan Valasek, sales manager at GSM Slovensko, suggested that EuroTel is getting nervous and trawling for new customers in a different sector of the market. "People will wait for a sale or low prices...they will wait," he said. Rasco's Novoveský agreed that sales bring customers out of the woodwork. "The market has barely been tapped among ordinary citizens...so far it is largely a business market," he said. "Globtel still hasn't had a sale,"he smiled. "When they do, we'll see an explosion."
Mobiltel's Knopp tried another tack, explaining that Globtel had already held a sale of sorts, a two-and-a-half month campaign during which clients could turn in privatization vouchers in return for phones and hook-ups. "They are in trouble," said Knopp added. "Otherwise they wouldn't be pulling those tricks."
14. Aug 1997 at 0:00 | Tom Nicholson