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Rzepka spearheads TPSA's modernization drive

01 April 1999

The Polish telecoms was fairly closed until 1998. Telekomunikacja Polska (TPSA) had all the negative attributes of a state-owned monopoly: it was inefficient and was held back by cash constraints. However, after the sale of 15% of the operator, TPSA is modernizing rapidly. TPSA's president Pawel Rzepka talks to Basil Ballhatchet about the challenges ahead.

Reform of the Polish telecoms markets was initiated in 1995, when the government introduced competition in the local loop. However, no further steps were taken in this process. Consequently, the incumbent operator, Telekommunikacja Polska (TPSA), was placed under no pressure to restructure, owing to the lack of real competition, except in the cellular market. In November 1998, however, the government launched the privatization process of TPSA, with an IPO for 15% of TSPA. The government has also announced plans to sell another 25-35% of TPSA to a strategic partner in 1999.

The sale is likely to raise significant proceeds, as the Polish telecoms market is characterized by low levels of penetration, both in fixed and cellular, and is perceived by many as one of the last remaining jewels in European telecoms. There should be no shortage of interest from operators aiming to increase their European footprint. Istvan Matetoth, a telecoms analyst at Credit Suisse First...