Mtel (Bulgarian telecommunication company)
|Type||joint stock company|
|Key people||Thanasis Katsiroumpas, CEO|
|Products||mobile / fixed telephony, Internet services, Digital TV services|
€614.7 million (2009)
|Net income||€147.9 million (2009) |
Mtel ("Мобилтел" or "Мтел" in Bulgarian /network code 284-01/), also known as "Mobiltel", is the first and largest GSM mobile phone operator in Bulgaria. It has more than 5.5 million customers. Company was founded in March 1994 but was not launched commercially until September 1995 (as Citron).
In 2001 M-Тel launched its pre payment sim cards which allow customers to purchase credits prior to calling friends, this was a great success and saw the amount of customers using their network increase dramatically.
The company had a market share of about 58% and 3,000,000 clients in September 2004. On 14 September 2006 M-Тel reached 4,000,000 clients. As of May 2006 the company has 4,400,000 subscribers and its market share fell to 51,1%. Its contract customers increased to 1,7 mln, while the profit per customer dropped to 9,9 euro for Q1 2007.
The operator has been owned by Mobilkom Austria Group since July 2005, when it was acquired for up to €1.6 billion in one of Central and Eastern Europe's largest deals and one of the largest foreign investments in Austria. Mobiltel was the first Bulgarian operator to offer EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSPA+ and LTE (for testing) services to its clients, with video telephony services being available since 6 March 2006 in the capital Sofia and since mid-July 2006 throughout the Bulgarian Black Sea resorts .
The company is the official sponsor of Bulgarian football club PFC Levski Sofia. Since 2005, the company also organizes the strong annual M-Tel Masters chess tournament, which is attended by six of the world's best International Grandmasters.
Despite the difficult economical environment affecting the entire IT and Telco industry in Bulgaria, Mobiltel's performance remains stable with a customer base of 5.3 mln. The postpaid subscribers increased from 61% to roughly 66%. Mobiltel's market share by end Q1/2011 stays at 49.3% .
The M-Тel network uses the access code 088. Until 2003, it also used the codes 089 and 087, which had been added as the network had expanded. In mid-2003, however, mobile numbers in Bulgaria increased by one digit and the M-Тel network code returned to being 088 only.
Mobiltel owns Loop - the largest virtual mobile operator operating in Bulgaria, specially designed for young customers. In 2011 Mtel created pre-paid service for cheap telephone calls, SMS and mobile Internet bob, which is available in Austria and Slovenia too.
In 2012 M-tel was rebranded with a new logo, and the dash in the name was removed leaving Mtel (Мтел) as shown in the new logo.