Viktor Orbán met Vodafone’s CEO to discuss Hungary’s digital developments and a new generation of mobile services for industry and the consumer alongside the introduction of 5G.
The digital economy has produced almost a quarter of Hungarian economic growth in the past few years and government investments in the sector between 2014 and 2021 will have amounted to 130 billion forints (EUR 398.3m), Orbán’s press chief Bertalan Havasi said, briefing on the talks between the Hungarian prime minister and Vittorio Colao.
Colao noted that Vodafone is a major UK investor in Hungary which employs 3,200 people in the country and has spent hundreds of billions of forints on developing Hungarian mobile services. Vodafone Hungary is active in implementing Hungary’s Digital Welfare Programme and the Vodafone Foundation supports the development of digital education in Hungary, he added.
Vodafone’s acquisition of US telecommunications and television company Liberty Global’s businesses in Hungary, Germany, the Czech Republic and Romania was one of the main topics discussed at the talks with Orbán. Vodafone will take over the 1.8 million retail cable and broadband internet subscribers of UPC Magyarország as a result of the transaction, he added.
Vodafone’s market share to reach 25%
After the Liberty Global transaction is closed, pending approval by the European Commission, Vodafone Magyarország’s market share is expected to reach 25% in the mobile segment, 24 % in the fixed line segment and 19% in the commercial television segment. Acquiring and integrating UPC is one of Vodafone’s most important tasks, Vodafone’s CEO said. The other big task is the rollout of the 5G network in Hungary and the launch of pilot projects, he added.
Vittorio Colao noted that he had proposed to Innovation and Technology Minister László Palkovics establishing a joint research space here local universities and SMEs could test 5G developments and services. Vodafone will not sell its Hungarian unit in the coming 1-2 years, Colao said. The unit is not for sale, he added.
featured image: PM Orbán with Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao; via Szecsődi Balázs/ PM’s Press Office/MTI