Greece’s dominant phone company Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) has sold its Macedonian mobile phone unit Cosmofon to Slovenia’s Telekom Slovenije for EUR190 million (US$251.3 million), reports Dow Jones Newswires. Last year, Deutsche Telekom, which operates its own mobile network in Macedonia (T-Mobile), acquired a 25 percent stake in OTE. As a result, Macedonian anti-trust authorities forced OTE to sell its Cosmofon unit. Telekom Slovenije will also purchase retail chain Germanos Telekom Skopje as part of the EUR190 million package. OTE’s sale comes as the operator said Friday it expects virtually no revenue growth this year after reporting a worse-than-expected 56 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit from a year earlier, when results were lifted by the sale of its Infote telephone directory unit.
The Cosmofon sale had attracted much interest over recent weeks, with Turkey’s Turk Telecom and Turkcell also bidding for the unit. According to Wireless Intelligence, Cosmofon had a 30 percent market share of Macedonia’s mobile market at the end of Q4 last year, with approximately 690,000 subscribers. With market penetration of 110 percent, growth in the eastern European country will likely be driven by data services from the future rollout of 3G networks.