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Bulgaria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Bulgaria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Until recent years, Bulgaria’s telecoms market was affected by the country’s difficult macroeconomic climate, as well as by relatively high unemployment and a shrinking population. These factors contributed to steadily declining revenue across the sector until strong recovery returned in 2018. There remains pressure on revenue growth, with consumers continuing to migrate from fixed-line voice telephony to mobile and VoIP alternatives, while the volume of SMS and MMS traffic has been affected by the growing use of alternative OTT messaging services.

The mature mobile market has effective competition between A1 Bulgaria, Telenor Bulgaria (sold to the PPF Group in August 2018) and the incumbent telco Vivacom. Competition intensified following the implementation of a streamlined mobile number portability process. In addition, customer preference for bundled services has put pressure on pricing and encouraged operators to offer generous voice and data packages. This in turn has impacted on operator revenue.

Vivacom is in the process of being sold, and the potential that a new owner will inject funds in network upgrades and develop services based on 5G should stimulate other market players to invest in their own service provision. A1 Bulgaria and Telenor Bulgaria are poised to launch commercial 5G services in 2020.

The broadband market in Bulgaria enjoys excellent cross-platform competition. The share of the market held by DSL has fallen steadily as a result of customers being migrated to fibre networks, particularly those operated by the incumbent telco Vivacom. By early 2019 about 65% of Vivacom’s fixed-line broadband subscribers were on fibre infrastructure.

This report provides an overview of Bulgaria’s fixed-line telecom market, including data on regulatory developments, the strategies of the major operators and an assessment of the evolution of fixed-line networks. The report also reviews the mobile voice and data segments; including a variety of statistics and analyses covering the major operators, market developments and services offered. In addition, the report covers the fixed-line and fixed-wireless broadband sectors, includes an assessment of technologies, the major players, market developments and statistics as well as subscriber forecasts.

Key Developments:

Amended Electronic Communications Act focused on enhancing regulator’s powers;
Vestitel begins building second Greece-Bulgaria fibre link;
A1 Bulgaria and Telenor Bulgaria trial 5G;
Vivacom extends the reach of its LTE-A service;
Regulator awards additional spectrum in the 1800MHz band for LTE use;
Cooolbox launches 1Gb/s FttP service;
New cableco association launched;
Government investment program for broadband in rural areas;
Vivacom’s FiberNet offer passes 1.18 million premises
Report update includes the regulator’s market data for 2018, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q2 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Vivacom, Orbitel, Vestitel, A1 Bulgaria (MobilTel), Telenor Bulgaria, PPF Group, Trans Telecom, Blizoo, Max Telecom


1 Key statistics
1.1 Country overview
2 Telecommunications market
2.1 Market analysis
2.2 Regional European Market Comparison
3 Regulatory environment
3.1 Historical overview
3.2 Regulatory authority
3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.4 Privatisation
3.5 Interconnect
3.6 Number Portability (NP)
3.7 Carrier selection/Carrier PreSelection
4 Fixed network operators
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Vivacom/Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)
4.3 A1 Bulgaria
5 Telecommunications infrastructure
5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
5.2 International networks
6 Broadband market
6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
6.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
6.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
6.5 Other fixed broadband services
7 Digital economy
7.1 E-government
7.2 E-health
8 Mobile communications
8.1 Market analysis
8.2 Mobile statistics
8.3 Mobile infrastructure
8.4 Regulatory issues
8.5 Major mobile operators
9 Appendix Historic data
Table 1 Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Bulgaria 2019 (e)
Table 2 Telecom sector investment 2015 2017
Table 3 Investment in NGA 2013 2017
Table 4 Development of in telecom sector revenue, annual change 2006 2018
Table 6 Proportion of telecom sector revenue by service (old style) 2011 2018
Table 7 Change in the share of fixed-voice revenue by type 2011 2018
Table 8 Change in the number of fixed number portings 2009 2017
Table 9 Change in Vivacom's financial data 2009 2018
Table 10 Vivacom's financial data by sector 2010 2018
Table 11 Vivacom's subscribers by sector 2012 2018
Table 12 Vivacom's pay TV and IPTV subscribers 2013 2018
Table 13 Change in A1 Bulgaria's financial data 2009 2019
Table 14 Growth in the number of A1 Bulgaria's fixed RGUs 2011 2019
Table 15 Increase in the number of A1 Bulgaria's fixed access lines 2011 2019
Table 16 Decline in the number of fixed lines in service and teledensity 2009 2024
Table 17 Increase in international internet bandwidth 2009 2018
Table 18 Share of fixed-line broadband subscribers by operator 2017 2018
Table 19 Change in fixed-line broadband market share by access type 2009 2018
Table 20 Increase in the total internet subscribers (fixed and mobile) and annual change 2015 2018
Table 21 Growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Table 22 Change in the proportion of fixed broadband subscribers by data speed 2010- 2018
Table 23 Growth in total /internet (retail and wholesale) revenue 2008 2018
Table 24 Retail and wholesale internet revenue 2015 2017
Table 25 Growth in the number of cable broadband subscribers 2005 2018
Table 26 Decline in the number of DSL subscribers 2005 2018
Table 27 Development of Vivacom's broadband subscriber base 2012 2019
Table 28 Increase in the number of A1 Bulgaria's fixed broadband subscribers 2011 - 2019
Table 29 Increase in the number of Vivacom's fibre broadband connections and homes passed 2013 2018
Table 30 Growth in the number of FttP subscribers 2008 2018
Table 31 Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Table 32 Decline in mobile sector revenue 2009 2018
Table 33 Change in the proportion of mobile revenue by service 2010 2018
Table 34 Change in mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006 2018
Table 35 Change in mobile market share of revenue by operator 2007- 2018
Table 36 Change in mobile market revenue share by service 2008 2018
Table 37 Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers 2009 2018
Table 38 A1 Bulgaria's prepaid subscribers 2004 2019
Table 39 Growth in the number of LTE subscribers 2015 2018
Table 40 Drop in SMS traffic 2009 2019
Table 41 Total MMS messages sent 2003 2017
Table 42 Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Table 43 Share of mobile broadband subscribers by operator 2017 2018
Table 44 Growth in the number of A1 Bulgaria' mobile broadband subscribers 2008 2019
Table 45 Annual mobile number portings 2008 2017
Table 46 MTRs 2014 2018
Table 47 Change in the number of Vivacom's mobile subscribers 2012 2018
Table 48 Vivacom mobile revenue 2009 2018
Table 49 Vivacom annualised mobile ARPU 2015 2018
Table 50 A1 Bulgaria prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2009 2019
Table 51 Change in the number of A1 Bulgaria's mobile subscriber base 2007 2019
Table 52 Increase in A1 Bulgaria's Minutes of Use (MOU) 2007 2019
Table 53 Telenor Bulgaria subscribers 2007 2018
Table 54 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 2009
Table 55 Historic - International bandwidth 2000 2009
Table 56 Historic - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 2009
Table 57 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration 1995 2009
Table 58 Historic - Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers 2002 2009
Table 59 Historic - Total SMS messages sent 2003 2009
Table 60 Historic - Mobile base stations in service by technology 2012 2016
Table 61 Historic - Telenor Bulgaria's financial data (NOK) 2013 2018
Chart 1 Development of in telecom sector revenue, annual change 2006 2018
Chart 2 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 2018
Chart 3 Proportion of telecom sector revenue by service 2011 2018
Chart 4 Change in the share of fixed-voice revenue by type 2011 2018
Chart 5 Europe Telecoms Maturity Index Market Leaders (top tier)
Chart 6 Europe Telecoms Maturity Index Market Challengers (middle tier)
Chart 7 Europe Telecoms Maturity Index Market Emergents (bottom tier)
Chart 8 Overall view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
Chart 9 Europe - mobile subscriber penetration vs mobile broadband penetration
Chart 10 Scandinavia and Baltics: mobile subscriber penetration vs mobile broadband penetration
Chart 11 Northern Europe mobile subscriber penetration vs mobile broadband penetration
Chart 12 Southern Europe mobile subscriber penetration vs mobile broadband penetration
Chart 13 Eastern Europe mobile subscriber penetration vs mobile broadband penetration
Chart 14 Scandinavia and Baltics fixed and mobile broadband penetration
Chart 15 Northern Europe fixed and mobile broadband penetration
Chart 16 Southern Europe fixed and mobile broadband penetration
Chart 17 Eastern Europe fixed and mobile broadband penetration
Chart 18 Change in the number of fixed number portings 2009 2017
Chart 19 Change in Vivacom's financial data 2009 2018
Chart 20 Vivacom's financial data by sector 2010 2018
Chart 21 Vivacom's subscribers by sector 2012 2018
Chart 22 Vivacom's pay TV and IPTV subscribers 2013 2018
Chart 23 Change in A1 Bulgaria's financial data 2009 2019
Chart 24 Growth in the number of A1 Bulgaria's fixed RGUs 2011 2019
Chart 25 Increase in the number of A1 Bulgaria's fixed access lines 2011 2019
Chart 26 Decline in the number of fixed lines in service and teledensity 2009 2024
Chart 27 Increase in international internet bandwidth 2009 2018
Chart 28 Change in fixed-line broadband market share by access type 2009 2018
Chart 29 Increase in the total internet subscribers (fixed and mobile) and annual change 2015 2018
Chart 30 Growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Chart 31 Change in the proportion of fixed broadband subscribers by data speed 2010- 2018
Chart 32 Growth in total /internet (retail and wholesale) revenue 2008 2018
Chart 33 Growth in the number of cable broadband subscribers 2005 2018
Chart 34 Decline in the number of DSL subscribers 2005 2018
Chart 35 Development of Vivacom's broadband subscriber base 2012 2019
Chart 36 Increase in the number of A1 Bulgaria's fixed broadband subscribers 2011 - 2019
Chart 37 Increase in the number of Vivacom's fibre broadband connections and homes passed 2013 2018
Chart 38 Growth in the number of FttP subscribers 2008 2018
Chart 39 Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Chart 40 Decline in mobile sector revenue 2009 2018
Chart 41 Change in the proportion of mobile revenue by service 2010 2018
Chart 42 Change in mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006 2018
Chart 43 Change in mobile market share of revenue by operator 2007- 2018
Chart 44 Change in mobile market revenue share by service 2008 2018
Chart 45 Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers 2009 2018
Chart 46 A1 Bulgaria's prepaid subscribers 2004 2019
Chart 47 Growth in the number of LTE subscribers 2015 2018
Chart 48 Drop in SMS traffic 2009 2019
Chart 49 Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Chart 50 Growth in the number of A1 Bulgaria' mobile broadband subscribers 2008 2019
Chart 51 Annual mobile number portings 2008 2017
Chart 52 Change in the number of Vivacom's mobile subscribers 2012 2018
Chart 53 Vivacom mobile revenue 2009 2018
Chart 54 Vivacom annualised mobile ARPU 2015 2018
Chart 55 A1 Bulgaria prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2009 2019
Chart 56 Change in the number of A1 Bulgaria's mobile subscriber base 2009 2019
Chart 57 Increase in A1 Bulgaria's Minutes of Use (MOU) 2007 2019
Chart 58 Telenor Bulgaria subscribers 2007 2018
Exhibit 1 Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
Exhibit 2 Access, the local loop and unbundling an overview

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