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Bulgaria - second in mobile penetration in CEE

3G/UMTS subscribers predicted to reach 100M by the end of 2006

Bulgaria takes the prestigious second place in CEE in the field of mobile penetration. This became clear during the UMTS Forum General Assembly that took place in Sofia on Nov 7-8, 2006, hosted by Mobiltel. At the meeting, UMTS Forum members - comprising 3G mobile operators, manufacturers and representatives of national administrations - learned that more than 91% of the Bulgarians currently use mobile devices compared with 37% fixed-line penetration rate. The Czech Republic takes first place with a mobile penetration rate of 116%. Third is Hungary with a rate of 89%, followed by Slovakia (86%), Poland (85%), Romania (72%), Serbia (59%) and Moldova (35%).

The meeting was also briefed on the rapid development of 3G/UMTS networks globally. Music on the move and downloading full-length songs, live TV and video streaming, flat tariffs and high-volume offers for data transfer are some of the services driving 3G development. The number of UMTS subscribers in East Europe for the past quarter has grown by 44%, and by a factor of more than 6 times in the last year. This places the region second in UMTS subscriber growth after North America. At present over 130 networks worldwide offer UMTS. In addition, high-speed mobile broadband HSDPA technology is available in more than 65 networks worldwide.

"Thanks to Mobiltel 3G mobile communication is part of Bulgaria's everyday life. The combination between UMTS/WCDMA and UMTS/HSDPA puts our clients at the best position - whether they're doing business or enjoying mobile entertainment", said Thomas Klemenschits, Mobiltel CTO.

"It's looking likely that 3G/UMTS will achieve 100 million customers globally by the end of this year" said Jean-Pierre Bienaim, Chairman of the UMTS Forum. "Bulgaria has already demonstrated it is a CEE front-runner in terms of mobile penetration and service innovation. Now, the extremely rapid growth in 3G subscriptions suggests that Bulgaria is going to play an equally important role in the commercial success of 3G/UMTS in the CEE region."

About Mobiltel

With more than 4 Million clients and about 55% market share Mobiltel is recognized as the innovative telecommunications market leader in Bulgaria and one of the most successful mobile operators in Europe. In 2006 the company deployed its 3G network and became the world fifth to offer services over HSDPA. After rapidly growing its 3G subscriber base, today the operator offers its clients new generation services such as video call, video streaming and live TV, music download, high-speed Internet etc.

In July 2005 Mobiltel joined the mobilkom austria group and now is a part of the mag family of companies.