New player goes upmarket

  • 2002-08-29
  • Aleksei Gunter

The three Estonian mobile communication companies will have to make room soon for Vertelson Halduse OU, a newcomer to start operations at the end of this year.

Peep Poldsamm, 38, owner of Vertelson Halduse OU, declined to reveal Vertelson's strategic investor and said no decisions had been made about a future brand name for the new operator.

"I think I could work successfully using some brand name that already exists," said Poldsamm, adding that outsourcing is the key word for his business strategy.

The company's emission volume makes roughly 2 million euros.

"The business plan is ready and I feel everything is going according to the plan," said Poldsamm, a former strategic planning director for Swedish-owned mobile operator Tele2.

Poldsamm plans to have about 20 employees in the first year and later expand the personnel to 45.

"Latvian and Lithuanian companies are also eager to meet me. If we do well in Estonia in the next year, we might expand into the other Baltic states," he said.

The new operator will rent network from an existing mobile communication company and is not going to go for the cheapest price but will focus on offering something new.

According to Poldsamm, there are many services that are either underdeveloped or completely absent on the Estonian mobile communication market.

"For example, everybody is crazy about SMS-based services. But the voice messaging enables the same variety of applications," he said.

"People still prefer to use their computers to read e-mails, receive faxes on paper and get SMS on the cell phone screen. Our company could provide convenient access to every type of message through every type of terminal. This is called unified communications," said Poldsamm, adding that he has a number of other applications he would not like to reveal yet. "People want something new every now and then."

Apart from working on original applications, Poldsamm plans to cooperate with other application developers and content providers.

According to unconfirmed information disseminated by the Estonian media last week, Vertelson Haldus OU will likely rent network space from Radiolinja.

Ullar Jaaksoo, CEO of Tele2 Eesti, said the network rent conditions would be crucial for the rookie operator.

"Upmarket mobile services certainly have space for development in Estonia, so the arrival of a new operator is appreciated," said Jaaksoo.

EMT is the market leader, with a 54.21 percent market share, followed by Radiolinja and Tele2, with about 26 percent each.

EMT recorded profits of nearly 1 billion kroons (62 million euros) last year, while Tele2 reprted 75 million kroons in profits.

Some 53 percent of Estonian residents have mobile phones.