The Iceland - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.
Iceland has one of Europe’s smallest telecom markets, and consequently there is little room for significant growth. Nevertheless, there is effective competition in all sectors: the country is open to all companies seeking licences or licence-based agreements, and boasts more than a dozen operators for fixed, mobile and Internet services. The two leading operators, Síminn and Vodafone Iceland, essentially operated a duopoly until 2008 when the new entrants Nova and Tal launched fixed-line services. Together these accounted for about 15% of fixed-line subscribers by mid-2009. These new players have also begun to provide Síminn and Vodafone with serious competition in the mobile phone market.
In common with all other sectors of the economy, Iceland’s telecom market will continue to suffer from the grim effects of the recent economic downturn. Iceland has perhaps recorded Europe’s worst economic collapse, while its performance in the medium term looks bleak. In 2009, the economy is expected to shrink by some 11%. According to Statistics Iceland, the Consumer Price Index (less housing costs) increased to 305 points in January 2009 from 251 points a year earlier.
The economic turmoil has translated into cautious spending among consumers, many of whom have lost their savings following the collapse and subsequent nationalisation of the banking sector. Across the board, there is little cash available for discretionary spend, and so consumers have reigned in their outgoings to the essential telecom services. As a result, operators which themselves have had difficulty funding network upgrades are unlikely to see revenue growth in the short term. Services on which they had hoped to realise significant returns, such as high-end mobile data applications, are expected to generate only moderate income during the next few years.
Telecom revenue increased 7% in 2008 though investment fell 2%. This fall is expected to sharpen in 2009 and 2010 as the pressure and effects of the economic downturn deepen.
Iceland - Key telecom parameters - 2004; 2008
Total subscribers (thousand)150141
Fixed-line penetration (population)51%44%
Broadband penetration (population)18%35%
Total subscribers (thousand)293330
Mobile penetration (population)98%110%
Broadband adoption in Iceland is among the highest in the world. FttH networks have a growing presence and are laid as standard in new-build zones or redevelopments. The government’s broadband strategy has implemented a scheme to provide all secondary schools, universities and research institutes with a 1Gb/s service, as well as universal broadband for all citizens. The government ITC policy to 2012 also aims to enable public services including health, education, government procurement, telecommuting and teleconferencing to be available online via a coordinated network.
Síminn and Vodafone Iceland have a largely uncontested duopoly of the DSL market, though other ISPs operate on the margins. DSL market growth has fallen in line with its greater penetration: the high point of 310% growth in 2001 dwindled sharply to 4% in 2008. The focus in coming years will be in replacing copper infrastructure with fibre. The main provider Reykjavik Energy owns an open FttH network which connects all 65,000 homes in Reykjavik and will be extended to most other settlements by 2012. By mid-2009 about 12% of all broadband connections were via FttH.
Iceland’s mobile phone penetration is among the highest in Europe, and consequently, growth has slowed steadily since 2006. The focus has shifted from GSM to 3G, and by the end of 2009 the 3G subscriber base will represent about a third of all mobile phone subscribers. The country has also been technologically innovative, being among the first in the world to assign the 450MHz frequency band for digital mobile services, while Síminn has also expanded its HSPA network using the 900MHz band.This report covers trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP and IPTV developments. Subjects include:
Market and industry analyses;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Major players, Subscribers, Market share;
Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
Mobile Voice and Data markets;
Broadband (FttH, DSL, Wireless);
Convergence and Digital Media;
Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2018.