Cyta dangerously close to losing dominant position, regulator says

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By Stelios Orphanides

State-owned telecoms company Cyta conceded additional market share to competitors in the first half of the year across all market sectors at an alarming rate, foretelling the loss of its dominant position in the medium term, official data showed.

Cyta saw its market share in mobile telephony subscriptions drop to 58.4 per cent by June, from 60.5 per cent in December last year, and 62.3 per cent in June last year, the Bureau of Electronic Communications and Postal Regulations said on its website. Main competitor MTN on the other hand, saw its market share expand to 32.6 per cent in June, from 31.7 per cent in December, and 30.9 per cent in June last year. Primetel also snatched a larger portion of the market in June — 9 per cent compared to 7.9 per cent the previous six months, and 6.5 per cent at the end of the first half of 2016.

The situation is even gloomier for Cyta and the taxpayer, after privatisation of the company was ditched early last year, when it comes to its share in prepaid mobile telephony, the regulator said. Cyta’s stake dropped to 51.7 per cent, 3 percentage points below that of December and 5.2 percentage points below that of June last year. MTN and Primetel expanded their market share to 39.5 per cent and 6.9 per cent in June against 38.1 per cent and 5.2 per cent in December, and 36.1 per cent and 4.9 per cent year-on-year respectively.

Cyta could slightly expand its market share in mobile broadband connections in June, to 91.9 per cent from 91.7 per cent in December, but was still down from 94.6 per cent in June last year, the regulator said.
In the landlines market, Cyta’s share declined to 72.4 per cent at the end of June, from 73.5 per cent at the end of March, and 75.6 per cent in June last year. In contrast, Primetel expanded its share to 13.4 per cent in June, from 12.9 per cent the previous three months, and 12.5 per cent in June 2016.
Similarly, Cablenet and MTN saw their shares grow to 8.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent in June, from 7.7 per cent and 3.8 per cent a year before.

Cyta also lost additional ground in broadband land connections with its market share falling to 57.7 per cent from 58.1 per cent in March, and 59.9 per cent in June last year, the regulator said. MTN was the clear winner as it saw its market share increase to 6.2 per cent in June, from 4.2 per cent a year before. Primetel gained slightly at the end of June compared to a year before, increasing its market share to 15.5 per cent, from 15.2 per cent, while in the case of Cablenet it rose marginally to 20.7 per cent.

Cyprus agreed to privatise Cyta when it signed the 2013 cash-for-reforms programme as part of a privatisation programme aiming at generating €1.4bn in revenue to help reduce public debt. Following a better-than-expected economic and fiscal performance, political parties and unions dug their hills in and refused to allow Cyta’s privatisation on the grounds that it was a profitable business, forcing the government to ditch its plans.

In September, Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides revised Cyta’s 2016 profit downwards by €75.2m to €30.4m citing its failure to report investment losses from placements made by its pension fund.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • Bob Ellis

    The concept of an open competitive market seems lost on most here. They wouldn’t loose market share if customers were happy ? also, with the loss of business and turnover have staffing level reduced………

    • Roger Thecabinboy

      In mobile telephony they still have the masts and other parts of the Infrastructure to maintain, and that is not dependent on the number of users, so the chances are fewer staff savings are possible while operating costs remain……that will nibble the margin, where the profits are made

      • Cydee

        Do Cyta charge their competitors in the private market for use of their infrastructure? Perhaps they don’t charge a big-enough tarrif.

        • Pc

          They cannot just charge whatever they want. Rates are supervised to prevent CyTA from using the rates to push out the competition. Also, MTN has its own network. CyTA’s mobile network is only used by CyTA and Primetel. Not sure where Cablenet will go for their soon-to-be-launched mobile network.

        • divadi bear

          Cydee
          The answer is YES ! and the cost of hiring lines from CYTA is not cheap, but getting government permission to lay new lines is practically impossible due to fact that the National industry, CYTA, is a government monopoly and would be reluctant to allow private companies to lay their own lines !
          If it was a private company many users would change and the government would lose out financially.

  • Roger Thecabinboy

    in mobile telephony they still have the masts etc to maintain, so few staff saving possible…

  • Evergreen

    CYTA needs to be privatized now.Like cyprus airlines it is going to be another white uselss elephant soon.

    • Terryw45

      If they don’t soon, they will not be able to give it away.

      • Evergreen

        I concur.

  • Terryw45

    Privatisation rejected ‘on the grounds that it was a profitable business’….. when people had no choice!

  • jobanana

    Just goes to show that CYTA with it’s government subsidies cannot compete with the hard working private sector. Too many jobs and perks for the good old boys! Time to ditch this antiquated socialistic view!

    • divadi bear

      jobanana
      Another example of Cyprus not willing to Change ! The management and workers won’t move an inch to get into world modern ways. Perhaps they think, as does the rest of the Nationalised businesses here that by remaining in the 50 years old ways of working, they can claim an exclusive stand here ! Is it any wonder that a large percentage of school leavers was to “work” in the Civil Services ! The Perks alone could be compared to a “Second Salary” !
      The TROIKA demanded that ALL national industries must change to be in private hands. We are still waiting……
      The cost-rift between “National and Private” is large and it is our Taxes which are paying $ Billions in “subsides” for those still owned and run by the State !!!!

  • Michael Fox

    Aren’t the Troika due to visit to see what progress has been made on privatisations ?

    • Pc

      Yeah, right. That will make the difference…not! This is an election year. Nothing upsetting will happen between now and autumn 2018. Just like in any democracy where the leadership values its own career prospects.

  • Mike-H

    trouble is Cyta engineers are incompetent, after several years of them saying the problem was in the house, and after they bypassed the cable to the house and still said the same, I changed to Primetel who discovered Cyta cables own the road were at fault

    • Evergreen

      Is primetel a reliable internet firm? I m keen to change my internet and tv from cyta to some other cost effective and a better company.

    • divadi bear

      I was with Spidernet when Internet became available. This changed to Primetel later and I was satisfied with them.
      I am still with Primetel and all and or any problems I have had/have lies with them using the CYTA lines. I feel they should Lay their very own and get away from CYTA !

      • Evergreen

        Hey DB☺are you otherwise happy with primetel?

  • GSP

    Interesting to read my Cyta phone bill this month. It has dropped by 20%. Are they perhaps reducing prices to try and win new – or keep existing – customers?
    And for clarification, I don’t have a land phone connected.