Vivacom’s FiberNet offer to reach over one million households by 2014
BuddeComm’s annual publication, Bulgaria - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in one of Eastern Europe’s more progressive countries. The report includes the regulator’s market data updates, telcos’ operating data to Q3 2012, and market developments to January 2013.
Following its accession to the EU, Bulgaria benefited from strong economic growth brought about by large capital inflows. However, the continuing global financial crisis has impacted the country’s economy through reduced capital inflows and export demand since 2009. Though GDP growth has improved it is expected to have fallen to 1% for 2012, remaining low for 2013. These difficulties have impacted the overall telecom sector, where revenue and investment has fallen steadily since 2010. As a result, the sector accounts for less than 1% of GDP, compared to 2-4% in many other European countries.
Telecom market overview
The broadband market enjoys healthy cross-platform competition supported by governments eager to exploit the potential of ICT to social and economic development and develop an internet society encompassing commerce, health and government services. Cable TV penetration is well above the EU average although the number of major service providers is falling due to market consolidation. The mobile market, served by three MNOs, is increasingly focussed on mobile data to secure revenue and improve ARPU, while the competitive nature of the market has encouraged players to expand into the fixed-line market.
Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012
Sector | 2010 | 2012 (e)
Subscribers by sector (thousand):
Fixed broadband subscribers | 1.1 | 1.36
Mobile phone | 10.2 | 10.27
Fixed-line telephony | 2.16 | 2.19
Penetration by sector:
Fixed broadband | 14.0% | 15.9%
Mobile | 139% | 140%
Fixed-line | 51% | 53%
The association of cable communications operators (BACCO) continues to guide infrastructure expansion and ensure access to Vivacom’s passive network while liaising with municipalities and broadcasters.
Although FttH is still restricted to urban areas, a number of players are expanding their networks more widely. Blizoo has invested €25 million in its fibre network, and offers among Europe’s fastest data rates.
Bulgaria has one of the highest CATV penetration rates in Central and Eastern Europe with over 60% of households subscribing, well above the EU average.
M-Tel in early 2012 began rolling out LTE networks in a number of cities, with test services made available to customers of the other MNOs.
This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Bulgaria.
It provides further information on:
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Mobile data market developments in coming years in light of spectrum auctions and new license awards;
3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies including HSPA and LTE;
Broadband migration to an FttH architecture;
Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts;
ARPU statistics and forecasts.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.