2012 Bulgaria - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Bulgaria’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • 3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts to 2015;
  • Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.

Key developments:

Vivacom reports fall in overall revenue for Q3 2012; Vivacom bought out by two banks; MobilTel covers one million households with fixed network; steady growth in new entrant fixed-lines; amended Electronic Communications Act focused on enhancing regulator’s powers; MNOs fined for MNP non-compliance; HSPA+ coverage extended; mobile sector nearly half of all telecom sector revenue; Vivacom reports strong growth in mobile broadband subscriber base; mobile termination rates reduced in mid-2012; MNP takes off under new regulatory measure; 2GH spectrum licence cancelled; 1800MHz spectrum licensees fail to pay for fees; M-Tel extends LTE roll-out; ASO put back to early 2015; new cableco association launched; consolidation among cable TV players; Vivacom increases satellite broadband service; government investment programme for broadband in rural areas; Vivacom FiberNet offer to reach one million households by 2014; regulator’s market data updates; telcos’ operating and financial data to Q3 2012; market developments to January 2013.

Companies covered in this report include:

Vivacom, Orbitel, Vestitel, MobilTel, Trans Telecom, Bulgarian Telecom and Television, Blizoo, Globul.

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- Jan 2013 (11th Edition)

Executive Summary

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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview of Bulgaria’s telecom market
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 History
      • 3.1.1 Revised NFR
    • 3.2 Regulatory authority
      • 3.2.1 Communications Regulation Commission (CRC)
    • 3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Bulgaria
      • 3.3.1 Privatisation
      • 3.3.2 Interconnect
      • 3.3.3 Access
      • 3.3.4 Number portability
      • 3.3.5 Carrier selection/carrier PreSelection
  • 4. Fixed Network Market
    • 4.1 Overview of operators
      • 4.1.1 Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)/Vivacom
      • 4.1.2 Orbitel
      • 4.1.3 Vestitel
      • 4.1.4 MobilTel
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Fixed broadband overview
    • 6.2 Broadband statistics
    • 6.3 Bulgaria’s emerging internet society
      • 6.3.1 E-government
      • 6.3.2 E-health
    • 6.4 Cable
    • 6.5 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
    • 6.6 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
    • 6.7 Wireless broadband
      • 6.7.1 World Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
    • 6.8 Satellite broadband
      • 6.8.1 Mobile broadband
  • 7. Digital Media
    • 7.1 Overview of digital media market
      • 7.1.1 Digital TV
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview of Bulgaria’s mobile market
      • 8.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 8.2 Regulatory issues
      • 8.2.1 Second GSM licence
      • 8.2.2 Third GSM licence
      • 8.2.3 Fourth GSM licence
      • 8.2.4 Third generation (3G) licences
      • 8.2.5 TETRA licences
      • 8.2.6 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.2.7 EU roaming tariffs
      • 8.2.8 Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
    • 8.3 Mobile technologies
      • 8.3.1 GSM
      • 8.3.2 TETRA
      • 8.3.3 Third generation mobile (3G)
    • 8.4 Major mobile operators
      • 8.4.1 Vivacom
      • 8.4.2 MobilTel/M-Tel
      • 8.4.3 Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile/Globul
    • 8.5 Mobile voice services
      • 8.5.1 Prepaid cards
    • 8.6 Mobile data services
      • 8.6.1 Overview
      • 8.6.2 Short Message Service (SMS)/Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 8.6.3 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 8.6.4 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 8.6.5 Evolved High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)
      • 8.6.6 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 8.6.7 Mobile TV
      • 8.6.8 Mobile broadband
    • 8.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.7.1 M-commerce (micropayments)
  • 9. Forecasts
    • 9.1 Fixed broadband forecasts – 2010 - 2013; 2020
      • 9.1.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband subscriber growth
      • 9.1.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband subscriber growth
      • 9.1.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
  • 10. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – June 2012
  • Table 4 – Broadband subscriber statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Telecom sector revenue, annual change – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 8 – Telecom sector revenue by service– 2008 - 2010
  • Table 9 – BTC interconnection rates – 2006 - 2009
  • Table 10 – Cost of local loop unbundling and shared access – 2006 - 2009
  • Table 11 – Vivacom financial data – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 12 – Vivacom financial data by sector– 2010 - 2012
  • Table 13 – MobilTel fixed-telephony and broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2012
  • Table 14 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 15 – Internet users and penetration rates – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 16 – Broadband market share by access type – 2009 - 2010
  • Table 17 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 18 – Fixed broadband subscribers by data speed – 2010
  • Table 19 – ICT usage by businesses – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 20 – Online purchases by individuals – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 21 – E-education usage by individuals – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 22 – E-education usage by businesses – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 23 – Uptake of e-government services by businesses – 2004 - 2010
  • Table 24 – Uptake of e-government services by individuals – 2004 - 2010
  • Table 25 – MobilTel broadband subscribers –2011 - 2012
  • Table 26 – Cable broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 27 – ADSL subscribers – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 28 – FttX subscribers – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 29 – Total mobile broadband-capable subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 30 – MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 31 – Proportion of analogue/digital viewing – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 32 – IPTV subscribers – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 33 – Cable TV subscribers – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 34 – Satellite TV subscribers – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 35 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 1995 - 2012
  • Table 36 – Mobile sector revenue – 2009- 2012
  • Table 37 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2006- 2010
  • Table 38 – Mobile market revenue share by service – 2008- 2010
  • Table 39 – Mobile portings – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 40 – European roaming charges – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 41 – Vivacom mobile revenue – 2009 - 2012
  • Table 42 – MobilTel financial data – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 43 – MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 44 – MobilTel subscribers – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 45 – MobilTel Minutes of Use (MOU) – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 46 – Globul financial data – 2009 - 2012
  • Table 47 – Globul subscribers – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 48 – Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers – 2002 - 2012
  • Table 49 – MobilTel prepaid subscribers – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 50 – Globul prepaid subscribers – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 51 – Total SMS messages sent – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 52 – Total MMS messages sent – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 53 – Total mobile broadband-capable subscribers – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 54 – MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 55 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2010 - 2013; 2020
  • Table 56 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – lower growth scenario – 2010 - 2013; 2020
  • Chart 1 – Vivacom financial data – 2003 - 2012
  • Chart 2 – Vivacom financial data by sector– 2010 - 2012
  • Chart 3 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2012
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2002 - 2012
  • Chart 5 – MobilTel financial data – 2005 - 2012
  • Chart 6 – MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU – 2004 - 2012
  • Chart 7 – Globul financial data – 2009 - 2012
  • Exhibit 1 – The EU regulatory framework for communications
  • Exhibit 2 – Access, the local loop and unbundling – an overview
  • Exhibit 3 – The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) annual E-readiness criteria

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