9th Annual SEE Telecoms

Our 9th Annual SEE Telecoms conference took place in the luxurious surroundings of the Sheraton Zagreb Hotel on 06 December 2011 and attracted over 70 leading representatives interested in the development of FTTx in Southeast Europe, notably financing projects and future market development, including regulation.

The conference was supported by our sponsors: Simon Kucher & Partners and Vipnet d.o.o. Special thanks to representatives from EXFO and ELCON Systemtechnik GmbH for exhibiting at this conference and showcasing their products to our audience.
Following a brief introduction to the conference by Chairman Mr Dejan Ljustina (Deloitte), the conference began with a welcoming address provided by Mr Danijel Mileta (Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Croatia) to introduce the key issue of FTTx in the region, followed by Mr Željko Knežević (Ministry of Communications and Transport, Bosnia and Herzegovina) who discussed the policies in place to develop the telecoms industry in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr Olivier Pascal (European Commission) then introduced the first section of this conference focusing on the Digital Agenda and its successes in SEE. Mr Pascal also addressed the Broadband Challenge and the Connecting Europe Facility and provided guidelines on how SEE countries can achieve digital agenda targets.
Chairman Mr Dejan Ljustina introduced the panel discussion by firstly providing an overview of the fibre broadband market in SEE, considering the drivers for growth, regional trends and what needs to be done to increase penetration of FTTx. Mr Ljustina then lead a discussion made up of leading regulators and operators from the region to consider the technologies needed to develop FTTx, financing and investment issues, results from regulation and what the future holds.
Opening the ‘Project Financing’ section, Dr Ekkehard Stadie (Simon Kucher & Partners) provided an interesting presentation addressing some of the challenges facing the telecoms sector, and discussed how pricing can help the telecom industry to become more profitable by boosting revenue, providing exciting case studies from other sectors and regions. Mr Aleksandar Mihaljovic (IFC) then discussed the IFC’s experiences in investing in emerging markets such as those in Southeast Europe. He addressed the IFC investment criteria giving companies within the industry a comprehensive insight into how to gain IFI funding. Mr Mihaljovic also discussed the IFC’s track record in the Telecoms sector whilst also providing an interesting case study of their involvement in PPP in Africa and discussed how this could relate to SEE. Mr Mihaljovic’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion made up of representatives from EIB, EBRD, Unicredit, Simon Kucher & Partners and the CVCA to discuss the financing and investment of FTTx. Particularly focusing on the attractivity of the telecoms industry to investors and the important role of public funding and subsidies in developing this sector.
The final section of this conference allowed the operators to provide their view on the issues that they are facing in the region in deploying FTTx.  This section was opened with a panel discussion chaired by Mr Stefan Stanislawski (Ventura Capital), and made up of Mr Igor Barlek (Vipnet), Mr Boris Stipetic (B.Net), Ms Maya Mandic (Hrvatski Telekom) and Mr Pavel Gulas (Slovak Telekom) who were able to discuss the issues facing operators, particularly relating to the role of the government and the need for public funding. This discussion allowed Mr Pavel Gulas to discuss the success in Slovakia sharing best practice to those operators from Croatia. Mr Stefan Stanislawski (Ventura Capital) was interested to establish how the operators believe the EC CEF investment should be spent in developing FTTx in this region, therefore this was also addressed in this panel. However, the issue of public funding still appears to be a major factor in developing this technology.
Dr Juraj Koza (LG Ericsson) then went on to address future technologies, specifically the development of WDM PON and how this technology can provide a far more efficient service to customers. Subsequent presentations were provided by representatives from Romtelecom, B.Net, and Telekom Slovenia to address the broadband situation in each of their respective countries, discussing the key issues, for example the aggressive market in Romania, and what needs to be done to improve this situation. The overall consensus told us that there was a huge need for more public funding in order to attract private investment and better regulation in order to control competition.

The conference was concluded with an interesting presentation from Mr Edvin Skaljo from Fiber and Integrated Optics who gave a comprehensive overview of the FTTx market in Bosnia-Herzegovina, focusing on trends, ROI and the different approaches to NGA for NGA Networks.
If you are interested in being involved in our 2012 event please contact tom.popple@eelevents.co.uk for more information.

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