Orange’s acquisition of a controlling stake in the fixed-line operator TKR is an important milestone for Romania’s electronic communications industry.
When the Greek incumbent OTE, which is itself backed by Deutsche Telekom, invited bids for Telekom Romania back in mid-2019 few would have expected the sale of such an attractive asset would take over two years to finalise. The pandemic certainly delayed matters, as did a lack of clarity as to what was actually on the market – Telekom Romania operated both fixed-line and mobile businesses, formerly known as Romtelecom and Cosmote respectively – but eventually Orange struck a deal buy a 54% stake in TKR through its Romanian subsidiary for €268 million in November 2020.
Now, almost a year later, Orange and OTE have finally announced the closure of the transaction, having obtained all the necessary regulatory approvals and met a key condition, namely the sale of a 30% stake in Telekom Romania Mobile Communications (TRMC – the former Cosmote) by TKR to OTE.
As a result, OTE remains very much present in the Romanian market, albeit the mobile sector, while Orange is now ready to move full steam ahead in its aim to become the country’s leading provider of converged services.
As Orange has pointed out, TKR provides pay-TV, broadband and fixed telephony to around 5 million customers and its approximately 90,000km fibre network connects almost 3 million households. It also provides convergent services to close to 916,000 fixed-mobile convergent subscribers.
Meanwhile, Orange Romania offered mobile, fixed and TV services to a combined total of 10,628,000 subscribers as of the end the second quarter.
With the market becoming increasingly competitive – Digi/RCS&RDS, for instance, has just announced the launch of a 10 Giga service in Bucharest – interesting times lie ahead for Romania.
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