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BTC Hinders Bulgaria on the Path to EU

Date: 16.09.2006
  • BTC monopoly can turn into an obstacle on Bulgaria's path to EU membership

Bulgaria's failure to restrain the former state phone monopolist not only discourages foreign investors in the fast developing domestic  industrial market but can prove a hindrance to Bulgaria's plans for EU accession, comment analysts and monitors.

The Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) controls the country's telecommunications sector in the country by holding 97% of the fixed phone services market while the other 18 licensed operators have total 3%.

"The BTC monopoly holds back the liberalization of the segment of fixed phone service," says Valentin Haralambov, deputy chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Committee (TRC).

The BTC maintains they have invested in the construction of the telecommunication equipment and the competition should do the same. "The real challenge to the existence of a true competition is the arrival of investors who are willing to invest in infrastructure," recently said Martin Staub, BTC CEO.

Meanwhile Bulgaria is being placed under increasing pressure to fulfill the commitments in line with its EU accession. Brussels have repeatedly warned Bulgaria it has not managed to cope with both widespread corruption in public administration and organized crime. Apart from these, in its report of May, the European Commission pointed out that the small Balkan country failed to apply measure to protect the competition on its telecommunications market, most of all, in the sphere of fixed phone services.

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