Primetel: 4G will boost local market share
Primetel, the island’s third mobile network operator that secured its license 14 months ago, plans to boost its small market share with the introduction of its high-speed fourth generation long-term evolution (4G LTE) platform launched last month.
From a 2.71% market share of all mobile users last June, Primetel has expanded its business to 3.39% at the end of December 2014, behind state-owned Cyta’s 65.3% (June 2014: 66.1%) and South Africa-owned MTN’s 30.4% (June 2014: 30.1%), according to data from telecoms regulator OCECPR.
Only Primetel and MTN introduced 4G on February 11, expecting to erode Cyta’s market share over the next few months, as the government telco will not introduce its 4G until summer.
“As the newest entrants, we have the advantage of investing in the most modern technology and the fastest network,” Primetel’s CEO Hermes Stephanou told a press briefing.
“We need to satisfy our shareholders with our small market share, but we do this with a high quality service. During our ten years of operation as a telecom and Internet provider, we have learnt from our past and moved on,” he said, adding that the telco’s 3G and 4G service coverage has reached 50% of Cyprus and will soon rise to 60%.
“We have 550 points (of transmission and relays) for the 3G platform and a further 200 for the 4G service,” Stephanou said.
Looking ahead, he said that he had recently told a company staff conference that “broadband is mobile” that is expected to rise from current speeds of 70Mbps to 300Mbps. “Unfortunately, the technologies are not out there to support such speeds. By 2020, the industry estimates that this speed will multiply by eightfold,” Stephanou said.
Primetel is upgrading all its mobile subscribers to 4G, while for April it is offering the 4GB broadband package for free. The normal 1GB broadband service starts from 10 euros a month and rise to 34.90 for 20GB.
Meanwhile, Stpehanou said that Primetel’s Hawk submarine cable system from Europe to Egypt and Israel, via a trunkline to Paphos, is a regional hub serving up to 200 mln people in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, with the Yeroskipou landing datacentre receiving the ISO 27000:2013 from Cyprus certification agency CYS, the first company in Cyprus to get one.
The Hawk cable, launched in June 2011 by Reliance Globalcom, has so far cost 200 mln euros and there are plans to expand this further into the Middle East that will be able to serve 300 mln people. The cable system has a capacity of 2.7 Tbps and spans a distance of about 3181 km.