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Bulgaria - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

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.

Economic background

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%
(Source: BuddeComm)

Market Highlights

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.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2012 (e)
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2012 (e)
    • Table Internet user statistics - June 2012
    • Table Broadband subscriber statistics - 2012 (e)
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2012 (e)
    • Table National telecommunications authority
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW OF BULGARIA'S TELECOM MARKET
      • Table Telecom sector revenue, annual change - 2006 - 2012
      • Table Telecom sector revenue by service- 2008 - 2010
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • HISTORY
      • Revised NFR
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Communications Regulation Commission (CRC)
    • TELECOM SECTOR LIBERALISATION IN BULGARIA
      • Privatisation
      • Interconnect
        • Table BTC interconnection rates - 2006 - 2009
      • Access
        • Table Cost of local loop unbundling and shared access - 2006 - 2009
      • Number portability
      • Carrier selection/carrier PreSelection
  • FIXED NETWORK MARKET
    • OVERVIEW OF OPERATORS
      • Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)/Vivacom
        • Table Vivacom financial data - 2003 - 2012
        • Table Vivacom financial data by sector- 2010 - 2012
      • Orbitel
      • Vestitel
      • MobilTel
        • Table MobilTel fixed-telephony and broadband subscribers - 2011 - 2012
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2000 - 2012
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • FIXED BROADBAND OVERVIEW
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Internet users and penetration rates - 2000 - 2012
      • Table Broadband market share by access type - 2009 - 2010
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2012
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers by data speed - 2010
    • BULGARIA'S EMERGING INTERNET SOCIETY
      • Table ICT usage by businesses - 2006 - 2011
      • Table Online purchases by individuals - 2005 - 2012
      • Table E-education usage by individuals - 2007 - 2012
      • Table E-education usage by businesses - 2007 - 2012
      • E-government
        • Table Uptake of e-government services by businesses - 2004 - 2010
        • Table Uptake of e-government services by individuals - 2004 - 2010
      • E-health
    • CABLE
      • Table MobilTel broadband subscribers -2011 - 2012
      • Table Cable broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2012
    • ASYMMETRICAL DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (ADSL)
      • Table ADSL subscribers - 2005 - 2012
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
      • Table FttX subscribers - 2007 - 2012
    • WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • World Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
    • SATELLITE BROADBAND
      • Mobile broadband
        • Table Total mobile broadband-capable subscribers - 2006 - 2011
        • Table MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2012
  • DIGITAL MEDIA
    • OVERVIEW OF DIGITAL MEDIA MARKET
      • Table Proportion of analogue/digital viewing - 2008 - 2012
      • Digital TV
        • Table IPTV subscribers - 2008 - 2012
        • Table Cable TV subscribers - 2006 - 2012
        • Table Satellite TV subscribers - 2006 - 2012
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF BULGARIA'S MOBILE MARKET
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1995 - 2012
        • Table Mobile sector revenue - 2009- 2012
        • Table Mobile market share of subscribers by operator - 2006- 2010
        • Table Mobile market revenue share by service - 2008- 2010
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Second GSM licence
      • Third GSM licence
      • Fourth GSM licence
      • Third generation (3G) licences
      • TETRA licences
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
        • Table Mobile portings - 2008 - 2011
      • EU roaming tariffs
        • Table European roaming charges - 2007 - 2012
      • Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
    • MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
      • GSM
      • TETRA
      • Third generation mobile (3G)
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Vivacom
        • Table Vivacom mobile revenue - 2009 - 2012
      • MobilTel/M-Tel
        • Table MobilTel financial data - 2005 - 2012
        • Table MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU - 2004 - 2012
        • Table MobilTel subscribers - 2007 - 2012
        • Table MobilTel Minutes of Use (MOU) - 2007 - 2012
      • Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile/Globul
        • Table Globul financial data - 2009 - 2012
        • Table Globul subscribers - 2007 - 2012
    • MOBILE VOICE SERVICES
      • Prepaid cards
        • Table Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers - 2002 - 2012
        • Table MobilTel prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2012
        • Table Globul prepaid subscribers - 2007 - 2011
    • MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • Overview
      • Short Message Service (SMS)/Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
        • Table Total SMS messages sent - 2003 - 2012
        • Table Total MMS messages sent - 2003 - 2012
      • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • Evolved High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)
      • Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • Mobile TV
      • Mobile broadband
        • Table Total mobile broadband-capable subscribers - 2006 - 2012
        • Table MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2012
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • M-commerce (micropayments)
  • FORECASTS
    • FIXED BROADBAND FORECASTS - 2010 - 2013; 2020
      • higher broadband subscriber growth
        • Table Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - higher growth scenario - 2010 - 2013; 2020
      • lower broadband subscriber growth
        • Table Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - lower growth scenario - 2010 - 2013; 2020
      • Notes on scenario forecasts
  • GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

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