World Class Wireless Growth Reported At Eurotel Praha
November 24, 1997
Prague, Czech Republic -- EuroTel Praha, the Czech Republic's largest
cellular operator reported ending the third quarter of 1997 with more
than 316,000 customers. Year-over-year customer growth for the third
quarter was in excess of 250 percent, making EuroTel one of the
world's fastest growing wireless businesses. EuroTel's total revenues
for the first nine months of '97 were in excess of CZKc7.4 billion
(US$238 million), for year-over-year growth in excess of 175 percent.
Bell Atlantic's Czech-based wireless investment had approximately
251,000 customers on its digital "GSM Global" network and another
65,000 on its analog "EuroTel Classic" network. EuroTel is the only
provider in the Czech Republic offering customers a choice between
digital and analog service.
EuroTel's GSM signal currently covers 81 percent of the country's
geography and 88 percent of the population.
"We expect that in 1998 our GSM coverage will approach the analog
system's near-total geographic coverage level," said Mac Allman,
EuroTel's Managing Director.
To enhance its GSM system's in-building coverage and overall signal
quality throughout the Czech Republic, the company will tap the US$400
million loan facility that was extended to EuroTel this October by a
consortium of domestic and international banks.
A key driver in EuroTel's growth has been its introduction of
innovative services to the Czech market. This month the company
announced it will offer its new "GO" plan, a rechargeable pre-paid
service that frees customers of monthly fees and contracts. The
service also lets customers track their usage right on the phone's
screen by dialing a free number.
This September, EuroTel introduced the new "Vikend" (Weekend) service
package that can be added to any of its service price plans with a
monthly access fee of only CZKc95 (about US$2.90). The plan allows
customers to make calls for only CZKc1 (US$0.03) a minute per month on
Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays.
"EuroTel's strong results in the Czech Republic show just how much
people value wireless service," said Tom Bartlett, president and CEO
of Bell Atlantic International Wireless. "EuroTel's performance also
puts it in the company of our Omnitel business in Italy, giving Bell
Atlantic a portfolio with two of the world's fastest-growing wireless
EuroTel has GSM roaming agreements in 42 countries: Andorra,
Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,
Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Cyprus,
Lebanon, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Germany, the
Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Russia,
Greece, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United States, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and in Great Britain.
EuroTel Praha is a joint venture of SPT Telecom Inc. (51%) and
Atlantic West B.V. (49%). Atlantic West B.V. is a joint venture
equally owned by Bell Atlantic (NYSE:BEL) and US WEST International,
part of the US WEST Media Group (NYSE:UMG).
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.8 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global
communications markets, with operations and investments in 21