PPF and Telenor Serbia in a trade war in Serbia
Belgrade, 1 February 2021 - “After another inaccurate and speculative N1 report which once again broadcasted distorted information, my only conclusion is that United Group’s interest is to ignite and fuel a trade war in Serbia. This is in no one’s best interests, most notably the Serbian customer. We categorically deny all of N1 allegations which have been aired since January 25th,” remarked Ladislav Bartonicek, PPF Group shareholder responsible for the group’s telecommunications assets.
United Group Opposes the Basics of Free Market Principles
“We believe the central motive behind this series of false allegations lies in the fact that Serbia is an enormously important region for the United Group, anything that could lead to a loss of stability or loss of financial predictability would naturally be very concerning,” continues Mr. Bartonicek.
The fallacies in the N1 report against Telenor Serbia and PPF is nothing more than a toxic competitor’s attack. SBB is defending its long-lasting duopoly and its dominant position (46,1% market share) in the TV content distribution market in Serbia, by putting pressure on the independent regulatory with the objective to eliminate Telenor Serbia and other competitors as new challengers in this market segment. United Group clearly takes the threat of new competitors so seriously that it is striving to deny end users broader choice and healthy competition.
Telenor Serbia intends to offer a more diversified service than what is currently available on the market and aims to provide content from different providers – including United Group. Although they rejected our initial proposal for cooperation, we strongly hope that they will be willing to share their content in the future.
There is no plan other than for Telenor Serbia to expand its business, become a new strong provider on the broadband and TV content distribution market and offer more choices to the customers in Serbia.
SBB has politicized and demonized a very standard business agreement between Telenor Serbia and Telekom Serbia. This agreement was drafted based on all laws and regulations in Serbia and was submitted immediately at our first opportunity to Serbian regulatory for approval. PPF is confident that this obvious attempt to influence the outcome will not interfere with this process and that the Commission for protection of competition will make its decision independent of any further outside pressure.
PPF and Telenor Serbia also strongly criticize and oppose United Group’s tactics whereby they are abusing their position as media owners of N1 by influencing editorial content for their own commercial gain. PPF urges the Serbian media community to review these claims and be assured that United Group is not violating the values, norms, and laws that underpin media freedom.
About PPF Group
PPF Group invests in multiple market segments including financial services, telecommunications, biotechnology, real estate and mechanical engineering. PPF Group’s growth rests on the development of traditional and new industries, the building of modern infrastructure, the digital economy, and linking up Czech talent and capabilities with global opportunities. PPF Group’s reach spans from Europe to North America and across Asia. The Group owns assets worth EUR 44 billion and employs 98,000 people globally (as of 30 June 2020). PPF pays income taxes in each of the 25 countries in which it operates and generates profit.
Contact for media:
Marija Vujanić, Communication and Sustainability director
PPF Telecom Group
Phone: +420 734 159 779