By Stelios Orphanides
When the government decided to withdraw its draft bill on the privatisation of state-telecom Cyta last year, the company lost more ground to its competitors, the telecommunications regulator said on Wednesday.
The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, as the government owned corporation is officially known, saw its market share in the number of mobile phone users fall to 58 per cent in December, the lowest since 2009, from 60 per cent in June and 62 per cent in December 2015, the regulatory authority for telecommunications and postal services said on its website. In June 2009, Cyta’s market share in mobile phone users was 81 per cent.
MTN’s share of mobile phone users rose in December to 34 per cent from 33 per cent in June and 32 per cent in December 2015, the regulator said. Primetel was also successful in increasing its market share to 6.7 per cent in December from 5.8 per cent in June and 4.9 per cent in December 2015. The market share of other providers such as LemonTel and CallSat rose marginally and remained below 1 per cent.
MTN and Primetel won market share in December both in terms of number of mobile telephony contract subscribers and prepaid service users at the expense of Cyta, the regulator said. Cyta’s share in contract subscribers fell to 60 per cent in December from 65 per cent in December 2015, while that of MTN and Primetel rose to 32 per cent and 7.9 per cent from 29 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively.
Cyta’s share in prepaid service users shrank to 55 per cent at the end of 2016 from 58 per cent a year before, while that of MTN and Primetel rose to 38 per cent and 5.2 per cent from 36 per cent and 4 per cent respectively, the telecommunications regulator said.
In December, the number of total contract subscribers in Cyprus rose in December an annual 6.5 per cent to 648,184 while that of prepaid service users fell 3.4 per cent to 485,596, the regulator said. The total number of mobile phone users rose 2 per cent to 1,133,780.
Finance minister Harris Georgiades said on Monday that the government would make another attempt towards Cyta’s privatisation this year by selling a minority package.
Cyta generated a profit of €58.9m after tax in 2015, compared to a net profit of €47.6m in 2014.