The Croatian Telecommunications Agency (Hrvatska agencija za telekomunikacije – HAT) within one year of its existence has adopted a whole list of decisions which supported the liberalization of the Croatian telecommunication market. The most important ones were those allowing the issuance of 14 concessions for fixed line operators, the finalization of the tender and the entrance of the 3rd operator of mobile telephony as well as handing out three concessions for the 3rd generation mobile telephony 3G or UMTS.
This is the conclusion of the HAT management, shown at today's presentation for journalists, organized to mark the Agency’s first anniversary. Gašper Gaćina, President of the Croatian Telecommunications Agency Council, explained that the effects of the liberalization were visible in the investments in telecommunications which during the last years reached the amount of HRK 1.5 billion, as well as in creating 600 new jobs.
The customers have gained the possibility to choose amongst a larger range of telecommunication services, prizes went down in all segments, although they should be even cheaper. Gaćina expects an ongoing lowering of prices as the market develops.
According to his judgment, the Agency's efforts throughout the passed year have been very useful to the process of liberalization. Besides the appearance of new operators, numerous new statutes and other regulations brought the Croatian telecommunications closer to the EU standards.
Gaćina emphasized the importance of granting standard offers of interconnection to the existing operators (T-HT, VIPnet and T-Mobile). The new operators would not be able to start their work without interconnection. Since the Agency and the new operators are not satisfied with the prices of interconnection, the ‘old’ operators are expected to lower them until the end of the year.
Also important for the process of liberalization were the Agency's decisions on number portability and pre-selection of operator for the service of accessing (incl. pricelist) the extracted (T-HT's) local loop, the decision on structural separation and separate billing of costs for the operator of a larger market impact, as well as installing the so-called WiMAX frequency area for granting Broadband Fixed Wireless Access concessions.
It was also said that the Agency had performed a great job with granting concessions to radio stations (total of 8.439 concessions) and with performing numerous technical inspections (total of 4.615 cases). (Hina)