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2009 Lithuania - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

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Last updated: 24 Jun 2009 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 55

Analyst: Paul Kwon

Publication Overview

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, trends and developments;

·         Facts, figures and statistics;

·         Industry and regulatory issues;

·         Infrastructure;

·         Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU;

·         Internet, VoIP, IPTV;

·         Mobile Voice and Data Markets;

·         Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);

·         Convergence and Digital Media.

 

Researcher:- Paul Kwon

Current publication date: June 2009 (8th Edition)

Next publication date:- June 2010

Executive Summary

BuddeComm’s Annual Publication, ‘Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts in Lithuania’, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends, developments and market forecasts in the telecommunications and converging media markets in Lithuania.

 

Since independence, Lithuania embraced market reform and joined the European Union, overseeing rapid economic growth characterised by large real wage increases driven by declining unemployment and emigration, EU sourced development funds and extremely rapid credit growth. Like its Baltic neighbours to the north the global financial turmoil brought a sudden end to Lithuania’s boom, with eight years of consistent annual growth giving way to forecasts of a 10% contraction of the economy in 2009.

 

Despite the difficult conditions the telecoms market is expected to fare well given the essential nature of most telecom services although it may accelerate ongoing trends such as fixed mobile substitution, evident by an annual decrease in fixed telephony revenue and lines in service.

 

Internet services are widely available in Lithuania, with broadband representing 99% of Internet connections. Healthy infrastructure-based competition is evident by the falling fixed broadband access average revenue per user levels of telecoms incumbent TEO, which is the largest ISP with 50% of total fixed broadband subscriptions. Alternative broadband access platforms include cable, fibre and wireless.

 

However the competitive landscape continues to evolve as mobile network operators aggressively price mobile broadband services at rates competitive to those of fixed-line services. With broadband access becoming increasingly commoditised, service providers are shifting focus to Internet-based convergence services such as broadband TV (IPTV) or bundling of separate services to increase ARPU levels.

 

Widespread Internet usage is forming the basis of an Internet economy, characterised by businesses and government bodies operating online in hopes of reaping benefits such as improved efficiency, convenience, and accessibility. Take up of such services is expected to increase as the number of Internet users rises and familiarity with such services grows.

 

Lithuania’s mobile sector remains the largest despite its share of total telecom market revenue falling from 47% to 44%. SIM card penetration has surpassed 100% with GSM/WCDMA services available via several mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators. To grow revenue service providers are focusing on increasing usage and hence revenue per subscriber, mainly in the form of minutes of use and marketing of HSDPA-based mobile broadband services. The latter holds much promise given the current low mobile broadband penetration levels and hence strong annual growth rates of mobile broadband take up.

 

Key highlights:

·         Broadband accounts for almost 100% of all fixed Internet subscriptions. Rapid growth has elevated fibre to the second most popular fixed broadband access platform. Rural broadband has received a boost following completion of a publicly funded rural fibre backbone network, the Rural Area Information Technology Broadband Network (RAIN). An open access philosophy ensures all operators can access the network on a wholesale basis only, with approximately 7,000km of fibre on the network rented as of early 2009. Future efforts centre on developing beneficial administrative, educational, commercial, administrative and culture online services.

·         Widespread business usage of e-government services is evident, with 75% uptake as businesses take advantage of the ability obtain information, forms and return forms online. Private uptake of e-government lags but is expected to grow on the back of increased awareness and recognition of its benefits. Similar initiatives extend to the health and education sectors, with the scope of such initiatives expected to broaden due to EU commitments to online services.

·         IPTV is the most popular method of access digital TV. Telecoms incumbent TEO is well positioned to take advantage of the growing interest and uptake of digital TV services, given that it offers both IPTV and digital terrestrial TV services. The proportion of cable TV subscribers on digital services is low, presenting an opportunity for cable TV operators to introduce improved and potentially higher-priced service offerings.

·         Mobile broadband is the next growth opportunity for mobile network operators, with take up of HSDPA-based mobile broadband penetration at only 6%. Competition will increase as mobile WiMAX services are available from Lithuanian Radio and TV Centre (LRTC) and cable TV operator Balticum TV. The future growth path of mobile broadband take up is expected to emulate that of the mobile voice market over the coming years as the cost of access and capable handsets decrease and end user awareness and ease of use increases, in turn leading to some cannibalisation of broadband subscribers between the fixed and mobile markets.

 

Lithuania broadband and telecoms statistics – 2005; 2008

Sector

2005

2008

Broadband (thousand)

Fixed broadband subscribers

234

593

Fixed broadband penetration rate

7%

18%

Mobile broadband penetration rate

n/a

6%

Subscribers to Telecoms Services (thousand)

Fixed-line telephone subscribers

801

736

Mobile phone subscribers

4,393

4,925*

·         3G subscribers

0

350*

·         3G market share of mobile base

0%

7%*

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Note: *Estimates.

 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

 

The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:

·         This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.

·         The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.

·         All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.

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