UG files lawsuit, arbitration will say how endangered it is in Serbia

NEWS 17.09.2021 16:07
Regionalna konferencija o trendovima u telekomunikacijama i medijima Milija Zeković
Source: Printskrin/Youtube/Color Media Communications

Milija Zekovic, SBB CEO in Serbia and CEO of Telemach Montenegro, told the panel 'A year later: Traditional panel of telecommunications leaders of the region' on Friday that the state had an unfair attitude toward SBB and the United Group (UG) but that, despite that, the company had revenue of two billion euros.

Summarising the previous year, Zekovic said the state’s attitude towards SBB and UG, which, according to him, did not have a fair market competition in Serbia, had not changed. He added that at the coronavirus time, the company’s priority was to protect the health of employees and users.

„We are more and more online; we have more meetings a day where we see only ourselves in the office, so in private life, we communicate more and more online. There are good and bad things here because we are losing the spirit of watching. There is a lot of news in SBB. We continued to digitalise Serbia’s cities; we wanted to offer faster Internet and better digital television; we have growth in viewing and the way of watching television, which is not viewed linearly but backwards; the use of our video library has increased by 70 percent, Internet by 50-60 percent, and during the state of emergency, we had an increase in fixed telephony usage. The UG last year started with the first online TV platform with the Shopster, where people can buy online what is trendy. We have expanded to two countries – Bulgaria and Greece. The UG now employes over 14,000 people and had revenue of two billion euros last year. On the other hand, we still do not have 5G, although we are aware that it is essential; we do not have new players in mobile telephony, although I think it would be good for users. So, to say again, the state’s attitude towards SBB and the UG in Serbia has not changed, and we do not have fair market competition,“ Zekovic said, adding „the panel is too short to list a million examples where the state does not allow us to expand.“

The Telekom Serbia CEO Vladimir Lucic, responded by reiterating accusations about SBB being created thanks to the state, on, as he said, „the construction of the illegal infrastructure used by Telekom“.

Zekovic replied with an example from the northern city of Subotica where SBB had been waiting for four years for permission to „expand the network from one end of the city to the other.“

„The United Group has filed a lawsuit with an arbitration in Washington, so it will say how endangered we are in Serbia,“ Zekovic added.

On the other hand, he said, SBB welcomed new market players because „it means that we have to be better, to have a better infrastructure and facilities, and users will be happier.“

Orion Telekom CEO Slobodan Djinovic said that two or three interesting years were behind their company and that the intense competition on the market in Serbia „pushed“ them to be multidisciplinary.

„We try to use our advantages to be smaller, faster and easier in decision making. We have changed the shareholding structure and have made the decision-making process more manageable. We are nearing the end of the construction of optical infrastructure in all major cities. We went digital in terms of marketing „, Djinovic said.

Speaking about the 5G, Zekovic said the network should contribute to the industry, traffic, and smart cities.

„I hope for driverless cars; that’s what the advantage of 5G is. We are the only ones who did not opt for the auction for frequencies. When that is over, it will take a couple of years, and I am afraid we will be ten years behind the developed countries,“ Zekovic added.

Lucic agrees that 5G will significantly contribute to the development of the world but denies Serbia would lack behind.

„You already use wireless devices at home, you all have a small 5G that is wifi, you have a fast internet environment. The essential difference of 5G is robotisation, artificial intelligence, automatic control. The 5G, just like accelerated 4G, will not give us back our money. It is not true that we are late. Three operators are ready for the rapid implementation of the 5G, and I am sure that we will quickly enter 5G when the frequencies are divided, as well as that we will be able to implement some services,“ Lucic said.

Zekovic spoke about a „part of UG, United Cloud, the company that designed EON, which,“ he said, „is ready to cooperate with all ICT companies in Serbia.“

Dejan Turk, the CEO of A1 Serbia and A1 Slovenia, told the panel the companies were „rebranded this year, and that refreshed them.“

„It was a good year for us; the owner financed investments. We built a lot of base stations, expanded the capacity. When I saw the measurements, we made progress; we enjoined the strong players. We want to upgrade everything with quality, „he said.

The Telekom Serbia CEO Vladimir Lucic, reteriating accusations about SBB being created thanks to the state, on, as he said, „the construction of the illegal infrastructure used by Telekom“.

Zekovic replied that SBB in Subotica had been waiting for four years for permission to „expand the network from one end of the city to the other.“

„The United Group has filed a lawsuit with an arbitration outside the country, in Washington, so it will say how endangered we are in Serbia,“ Zekovic added.

„The United Group has filed a lawsuit with an arbitration in Washington, so it will say how endangered we are in Serbia,“ he added.

On the other hand, he said, SBB welcomed new market players because, „it means that we have to be better, to have a better infrastructure and facilities, and users will be happier.“

Dejan Turk, the CEO of A1 Serbia and A1 Slovenia told the panel the companies were „rebranded this year, and that which refreshed it.“

„It was a good year for us; the owner financed investments. We built a lot of base stations, expanded the capacity. When I saw the measurements, we made progress; we enjoined the strong players. We want to upgrade everything with quality,“ he said.

Turk added that they „have launched new services and we are trying to work focused,“ and said they „launched“ in the 5G in the three largest cities in Slovenia.

Orion Telekom CEO Slobodan Djinovic said that two or three exciting years were behind their company. The intense competition in Serbia’s market in Serbia „pushed“ them to be multidisciplinary, he added.

„We try to use our advantages of being a smaller, faster and easier in decision making. We have changed the shareholding structure and have made the decision-making process more manageable. We are nearing the end of the construction of optical infrastructure in all major cities. We went digital in terms of marketing „, Djinovic said.

Speaking about the 5G, Zekovic said that network should contribute to the industry, traffic, and smart cities.

„I hope for driverless cars; that’s what the advantage of 5G is. We are the only ones who did not opt for the auction for frequencies. When that is over, it will take a couple of years, and I am afraid we will be ten years behind the developed countries,“ Zekovic added.

Lucic agrees that 5G will significantly contribute to the development of the world but denies Serbia would lag behind the other countries.

„You already use wireless devices at home, you all have a small 5G that is wifi, you have a fast internet environment. The essential difference of 5G is robotisation, artificial intelligence, automatic control. The 5G, just like accelerated 4G, will not give us back our money. It is not true that we are late. Three operators are ready for the rapid implementation of the 5G, and I am sure that we will quickly enter the 5G world when the frequencies are divided, as well as that we will be able to implement more services,“ Lucic said.