Belgium's dominant telecom operator Belgacom aims to overturn its conservative reputation by developing new technology and expanding overseas, Chief Executive Didier Bellens told newspapers on Saturday.
Now there is a moment when it is necessary to act, Bellens told Belgian newspaper L'Echo. I have been criticised for not wanting to invest in the east, but when I see the quagmire in which some others are stuck...
Bellens said the group was already working on projects in Curacao and north Africa and sees opportunities in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Innovation will also be a key focus for the next 5 years.
With Belgacom ICS, which was built for almost nothing, the group has opened the door to a very interesting world, he told the newspaper La Libre Belgique.
The ICS division signed a preliminary deal last month with Royal Bank of Scotland that will help mobile phone customers transfer money from one mobile phone to another.
Mobiles are an obvious choice as a payment method, Bellens told L'Echo. We must persevere in our desire to penetrate this market.
The consumer will be juggling between fixed lines and mobiles starting from the same number -- Belgacom must be the first to propose the technology, he added. Society is also looking for the production of content. Video games is a niche opportunity.
The former state monopoly is trying to reinvent itself as a more aggressive competitor.
Belgacom said last month it would pay a reduced interim dividend in the hope of sending a signal to its main shareholder, the Belgian state, that it wants regulatory issues to be resolved as soon as possible.
The Belgian regulator's decision to cut mobile termination rates, the regulated fees operators charge for handling each other's calls, has hit Belgacom's earnings.
Belgacom wants the regulator to abolish the difference in mobile termination rates set for the incumbent operator -- Belgacom -- and those for its competitors.
(Reporting by Pete Harrison; Editing by Keiron Henderson)