By now, there are 3 mobile phone operators in Bulgaria.
1. M-TEL – it was the first one on the market - Mobiltel AD (the predecessors of M-Tel) was founded in March 1994 as a joint stock private company, incorporated under the Bulgarian law. In August 1997
The GSM Network ensured coverage of the main Bulgarian cities Sofia, Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv and Pazardjik. Mobiltel's subscribers were 15 100. In January 1999 Mobiltel registered 257.4% subscriber growth compared with the same period the last year. For the previous year the rated growth of Mobiltel's subscribers is 320%. The company's revenue rose 159%. According to Wall Street Journal's magazine Central European Economic Review, that is the seventh best result among the companies in Central Europe, and the second best result among the GSM operators in the region. By June 1999
Mobiltel's GSM network provided 60% coverage of the Bulgarian territory and 85% coverage of the population and reached its 100 000th subscriber. By June 2000 Mobiltel AD reached its 300 000th subscriber. In September 2001 „Mobil Tel" presents its new logo and trade brand ”M -Tel" at the International Technical Fair in Plovdiv . The first millionth subscriber of Mobil Tel has been registered. February 2006 Mobiltel and Vodafone signed a long-term partnership agreement. The partnership will allow M-Tel to offer its clients selected Vodafone products and services. By now, this is the largest telecommunication company in Bulgaria. Here is their web page.
2. GLOBUL – the second on the market. The whole story begins in December 2000, when Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile (CBM), 100% owned by the international company OTE S.A., has won the tender for a GSM license in Bulgaria. The first page in the GLOBUL history, which is the trademark of CBM, was opened on July 31, 2001. For the first year of its existence the Company was declared the biggest greenfield venture and was awarded the prize for Investment of the Year. Over 1.1 billion leva have been invested in the rollout of the network and the development of services of GLOBUL so far. In August 2005 a 100 % of the shares of the Company were bought by COSMOTE Group – a major player on the telecommunications market in Greece, Romania, Albania and Macedonia. In the spring of 2006 the Company acquired a new corporate identity to reflect the change in ownership and mark a further stage in its development as an operator within the COSMOTE Group. In November 2006 GLOBUL welcomed its 3-millionth customer. As a result of considerable investments in the rollout and optimization, the Company’s network is ready to serve over 3.5 million of customers. Here is their web page.
3. VIVATEL - vivatel is the trade mark under which the mobile operator BTC Mobile is operating on Bulgarian market. BTC Mobile was established in June 2004 when Bugarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) received GSM license by Communications Regulation Commission. In May 2005 BTC received UMTS license, and in June 2005 – BTC Mobile signed contracts for mutual connection with the other two mobile networks in Bulgaria.
In August 2005, BTC announced the name of the new mobile operator – vivatel. It has been chosen after a national marketing research was held. According to the research data, the name vivatel was chosen, because it is directly related with the word „viva”, which means „live” and the short „tel”, that stands for telecommunications.
In September 2006 Vivatel announces that its subscriber base has exceeded 500,000 customers on the 3rd September, less than 10 months after launching operations. This makes Vivatel one of the most successful new mobile operators in Europe. It has gained significant market share from its competitors and has brought lower prices and real competition to the Bulgarian mobile market. Here is their web page.
All this information is taken from the official web pages of the companies.
The three companies are in great competition. M-tel is a sponsor of the most popular Bulgarian football team “Levski” Sofia. Since its foundation Vivatel became sponsor of their city rivals – “CSKA” Sofia. And Globul is the proud sponsor of the Bulgaria National football Team and recently started promoting their "I-mode" service through the Litex Lovetch football club.