Telenor (Bulgaria)

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limited liability company
Industry mobile telecommunications
Founded 2001 as Globul
2014 as Telenor
Headquarters Sofia, Bulgaria
Key people
Ole Bjørn Sjulstad, CEO
Products Mobile telephony, Internet service provider
Revenue Increase €642 million (2015) [1]
Number of employees
2,111 (December, 2015) [2]
Parent PPF (2018- ), Telenor (2013–2018), OTE (2001-2013)

Telenor (network code 284-05) is the third-largest Bulgarian GSM/UMTS operator. The company was founded as "Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile" in 2001 and operated under the brand name "Globul" to 2014. It was owned by Greek operator OTE from 2001 to 2013, and from 2005 to 2013 it was part of the Cosmote brand line. As of 2013, the company is 100% owned by Telenor Group.


The company was founded in 2001 by telecommunications corporation OTE group, from 2005 to 2013 it was part of the Cosmote brand line of the group, since August 2013, is 100% owned by Norwegian telecommunications corporation Telenor which acquired it from OTE in for EUR 717 million.[1][2]

At the end of 2012, Globul reported 4.5 million subscribers (up from 3.9 million in March 2011), with 36% subscriber market share. As of 2012, Globul had about 62% contract subscribers, about 38% prepaid subscribers, and abound 220,000 fixed-line subscribers.[3]

Globul changed its company logo in June 2006 to unify it with the Cosmote brand.

Second rebranding started on 16 October 2014 after Telenor's acquisition. Globul has been using Telenor's name since November 2014.

In January 2018, the company's management confirmed media reports that there is interest in sale of Telenor's business in Southeast Europe, including Telenor Bulgaria.[4] In March 2018, Telenor sold its business in Central and East Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro and Serbia) to the investment fund PPF, for a sum of 2.8 billion euros.[5]


As of 2012, Globul's GSM network covers 99,98% of Bulgaria’s population and 99,48% of the country’s territory. The company has roaming agreements with over 400 operators in more than 170 countries and territories worldwide.[citation needed]

In 2005, Globul received a license for developing and implementing 3G UMTS mobile telecommunications network as well as a fixed telephony license. 3G services were launched in September 2006 and have since been upgraded to support HSPA+ with speeds of up to 42 Mbit/s download and 5.76 Mbit/s upload.[6] As of December 2012, Globul's UMTS network covers 94,81% of the country's population.

Telenor uses the access code 089. Until 2003, it used the codes 099 and 098, the latter having been added as the network had expanded. In mid-2003, however, mobile numbers in Bulgaria increased by one digit (by adding an initial -8-) and the network code changed to 089 only.

Alongside Globul, OTE had also owned one of the two public telephone networks in the country – BulFon, which it sold back to the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company in 2005.[7][8]

After Telenor acquired Globul was made the intent that the whole existing network (both 2G and 3G) shall be rebuilt. Later in a press release it was revealed that Huawei had been selected. In early 2013 the process has already begun. Telenor created a specific webpage that shows in which region and when the network would be rebuilt. The deadline is by mid 2015. Telenor also said that the network that they build would be easily made 4G LTE when the market indicates that it is ready for it.[9]


Telenor Bulgaria offers 4G services under the LTE standard in the 1,800 MHz band to all of its customers from 1 December 2015 in 53 cities and 2 resorts with coverage to 56.73% of the country’s population. Further expansion is expected in 2016, including Bulgaria’s popular seaside resorts.[10][11] The maximum speed of the Telenor 4G network is 75 Мbps. The service is initially available in Sofia and most of southern Bulgaria. By mid-December, Telenor's LTE service will cover all Bulgarian cities with a population of more than 20,000, including all regional centres and the most popular winter resorts. [12]

Telenor said it will continue to expand the coverage and the capacity of its LTE network, depending on spectrum availability, further into 2016. Telenor 4G services are available at no additional cost until 31 January 2016 to all customers with 4G-enabled handsets and SIM cards, which are all Telenor SIM cards (including 3in1 SIMs) purchased or replaced in the last several years. Users with older SIM cards will be able to replace them free of charge at any Telenor or official partner shop where a wide variety of 4G-enabled devices is also available after 1 December.[12]

In April 2016 Telenor announced that its LTE network covers all residential areas with over 5,000 inhabitants and provides fast data transfer for 75% of the Bulgarian’s population.[13]

In May 2016, Telenor was awarded 2x5MHz additional spectrum in the 1800 MHz band from CRC.The additional frequencies will be used for further improving the quality of the company’s 4G LTE services by allowing Telenor to increase the maximum theoretical data speed in its 4G network to 100Mbit/s.[14]


In 2006, Globul launched i-mode in Bulgaria. Globul was the first operator worldwide to introduce Nokia i-mode handsets in September 2007. In 2007 Globul launched BlackBerry, the service is accessible from the network of Globul as well as from the roaming partners of Globul. In March 2009, GLOBUL launched iPhone 3G in Bulgaria and four months later offered the new iPhone 3GS. In August 2010, offered iPhone 4. The mobile operator was the first in Bulgaria to propose an integrated solution for fixed and mobile telephony with the MVPN service, Office Zone and Student Zone.

In 2007 Globul received a license for 802.16 point-to-multipoint network in the 26 GHz band. The company uses WiBAS technology for broadband wireless transmission in the major cities.[15] In 2009 Globul started fast-speed broadband Internet services.[16]



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