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MTel aims to boost 4G+ coverage to 35%-40% this year

Telco

Magyar Telekom expects network investments to boost its 4G+ coverage by 5-10 percentage points from 30% at present, CFO János Szabó was quoted as saying by Hungarian news agency MTI today. MTel is also focusing on increasing its 87% indoor coverage rate in residential areas.

MTel must raise the outdoor 4G coverage of its network from 98% to 99% as part of commitments tied to bandwidth acquisitions, Szabó noted.

Still just half of Hungarians have a 4G-capable handset, which poses a problem, but three-quarters of data traffic takes place over the 4G network, he explained.

Szabó said competition remains "very strong" on the fixed-line market as players "fight tooth and nail" to retain and acquire subscribers.

In an earnings report released late Wednesday, MTel CEO Christopher Mattheisen said competitive pressures remain both in the mobile business-to-business and prepaid segments as well as for triple-play pricing. Further cuts to EU roaming rates, as well as the regulatory deadline for data reconciliation for prepaid SIM cards, are also "set to pose challenges," he added.

Mattheisen also noted that Digi, an MTel competitor on the fixed-line market, "seems to have postponed its entry to the mobile market."

MTel expects to spend around HUF 85 billion on capital expenditures this year, according to guidance included in the report, down from HUF 98 bln last year.

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