VIENNA Jan 30 Telekom Austria expects renewed pressure on mobile tariffs in the second half of the year as new players enter the Austrian market, its chief executive said on Thursday.
Austria has three network operators - Telekom Austria, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile and Hutchison Whampoa's Drei - and a clutch of budget mobile service providers who resell capacity on the other operators' networks.
More such so-called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) may soon take advantage of rock-bottom wholesale prices that Drei has been forced to offer on its network as a condition of being allowed to buy competitor Orange a year ago.
CEO Hannes Ametsreiter said he expected such players to emerge towards the end of the year, possibly as early as this summer.
"It could be that a new price war will come," he told journalists. "Competition will remain enormous."
Ametsreiter said Telekom Austria would remain under pressure from European regulation, losing about 290 million euros ($396 million) in revenues between 2012 and 2016 through EU regulation of roaming and interconnection charges.
He added that Telekom Austria, which is under financial pressure after spending an unexpectedly high 1 billion euros on new frequencies last month, had sufficient funds to take part in a coming frequency auction in Slovenia. ($1 = 0.7329 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Michael Shields)