Tomašković: Focus on creating more attractive services for our customers
Foto: Dražen Tomić
Croatian telecom market is changing toward new investments into optical networks reaching the EU Agenda 2020. For years we have been operating in challenging market conditions dictated by the economic and political situation and decreasing the purchasing power of citizens, said in the interview for ICTbusiness.info CEO of Croatian Telecom Davor Tomašković.
HT recently published a study about GDP contribution to Croatian economy. Can you please comment on the results?
Hrvatski Telekom is important for the domestic economy and has an impact on the social and business community in Croatia. Economic Atlas, done by the Institute of Economics, quantifies our impact and the figures are really impressive. HT is the largest private investor in Croatia and in the last five years invested HRK 5.7 billion. With its operations, it created the most newly created value for the Croatian economy in the amount of HRK 12.9 billion, it generates more than 27,000 jobs in Croatia, pays its employees 50 percent more than the national average, and the entire HT Group achieves more than 3 percent of Croatian GDP.
What's your assessment of the current state of the domestic market?
For years we have been operating in challenging market conditions dictated by the economic and political situation and decreasing purchasing power of citizens. As always, we are focused on our business and on creating more attractive services for our customers. The best example is Magenta 1, the biggest news on the telecom market, with extremely good results. Magenta 1 is a new and unique concept of telecommunications offer in Croatia for residential and business customers of HT, which includes reliable technology, simplicity and selection of services in consultation with a specially trained sales representatives and customer service agents.
The current situation in the Croatian telecommunications market mirrors the trends in other EU countries as well, which are encouraged by the needs of continuous investment in the development of new technologies and services, mainly in infrastructure, in order to improve the quality of service to end users. Thanks to HT's investments, in the past two years we have tripled the speed of mobile internet and now we are the only ones in the market to offer speeds of up to 263 Mbit/s per second. As for the fixed Internet, 180 thousand of our broadband Internet users are surfing 2-5 times faster since September, at no additional charge. This has a considerable impact on the local community and all segments of the economy. With its investments, HT emerged as one of the key drivers of the domestic economy, and as part of the DT Group it has a role in the European market which ultimately represents a major benefit, for our customers, employees, and other stakeholders alike. To maintain the positive investment trend in the coming period, it is necessary to ensure the stable and secure business environment, and this applies primarily to reduction of tax and parafiscal burdens, removing administrative barriers and strengthening of legal security.
What's your opinion of the idea of a national strategy for the development of broadband Internet access - EU grants of 200 million euros are stopped?
The idea of building a parallel aggregation infrastructure is simply not good and is completely financially unjustified. It is the infrastructure that connects the cities, and the construction of a parallel network for 630 towns, although 580 of them are already connected via HT's infrastructure, is completely unnecessary. HT could upgrade that system 16 times cheaper and 6 times faster, and the state should, instead of building a parallel system, focus the EU funds on the list mile to customers, to those areas where there is no commercial interest of operators, such as remote islands and smaller rural communities. We believe that the entire investment potential, of private and public investors, should focus on connecting households and businesses, rather than the duplication of telecommunications infrastructure with no added value for customers and citizens.
The company is going through transformation. What are the key transformation factors?
We started with the transformation in Hrvatski Telekom three years ago aiming to create an organization that will be faster, more flexible and more user-oriented. Hrvatski Telekom did an impressive transformation and ensured sustainable conditions for organization's further growth and development. Such a position also allowed us credibility and has given us an important role within the DT Group, so in certain segments, HT and Croatia are ahead of Germany. One of the many examples is that we are among the first in Europe to introduce 4G network, and we are among the first three operators to have switched all customers to an all-IP network environment.
What is the position of HT within the DT Group?
HT is the first in DT Group to have started a pilot project with G.fast technology, we have developed the first service for the new European network Cloud VPN ... thanks to this, but also to a number of other achievements and awards, we are in a position where we can count on DT’s support and on resources such as additional CAPEX for investments into fixed and mobile broadband. Although our leading position is mainly because of our experts, it would be difficult to maintain without a strong cooperation with Deutsche Telekom.