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Ukrtelecom Plans Triple-Play Roll-Out to Revive Ailing Fortunes
|19 августа 2008|
Ukrainian fixed-line incumbent Ukrtelecom plans to launch triple-play services by 2009, reports Ukrainian News, citing the company's deputy board chairman, Ihor Syrotenko.
The service will comprise internet, voice telephony and television services, and may include access to services such as "virtual cinema" and "video on request". Syrotenko has indicated that the service is already being tested, with plans in place to launch nationally. Ukrtelecom estimates that its triple-play package could attract up to 10 million subscribers. Syrotenko estimates that the service will recoup costs within six or possibly even four years, although no indication was provided of the sums involved.
Problems Run Deep at Ukrtelecom: Following the roll-out of broadband, IPTV and 3G mobile services, Ukrtelecom is certainly enhancing its portfolio, evolving from fixed-line voice operator to integrated and now triple-play provider. This evolution has been necessitated to a large degree by the progress of the mobile telephony market at the expense of fixed voice, with around 55 million mobile subscribers in the country, compared to 12 million fixed-line subscribers. However, Ukrtelecom remains a struggling company, as indicated just last week by Transport and Communications Minister Iosif Vinsky, who suggested that profits in 2008 would drop to 8.713 million hryvnia from 267.193 million hryvnia in 2007. While the new range of services will help Ukrtelecom fight back, the problems appear to run deeper as it is plagued by poor management, lack of investment, lack of transparency and over-staffing. The operator, currently 92.79% owned by the state, would certainly benefit from privatisation and the new management and investment this would bring. A plan to sell 67.7% via an auction, with the government retaining 25% plus one share, has been approved by Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers, but with political opposition remaining, this process has lost some momentum and its value will continue to depreciate. Nevertheless, the range of services Ukrtelecom is able to offer will lend appeal to potential suitors and the pledge to offer triple-play serves as a reminder of its capacity to remain a major force in the Ukrainian and CIS telecoms markets.