Unlicensed Serbian and Albanian mobile phone companies that operate in Kosovo illegally are denting the profits of legal operators and hurting the Kosovo budget, industry officials said on Wednesday.
Authorities have found that Serbia’s MTS operator, and Albanian mobile operators AMC and Kosmofon often used the frequencies of state mobile phone operator Vala, hurting the quality of its services.
Representatives of Vala and private telecommunications company IPKO said that while these operators are hurting the profits of their own companies, they are also damaging Kosovo’s budget.
Officials of the two mobile companies asked Kosovo’s Tax Registration Office, ART, to step in as the unlicensed operators are using Kosovo’s facilities without payment for their services to their estimated 150,000 clients.
“Their antennas and their systems of communication in Kosovo are not hidden but set in the middle of cities and urban areas without any documentation of any authority in Kosovo”, said Akan Ismajli, general director of IPKO, dismissing ART’s assertion that there is no legal way to shut down the unlicensed operators.
Ismajli said that according to the two firms’ calculations, the current situation meant losses of 170 million euro per year.