2015 Bulgaria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 9 Nov 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 65

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 developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • Mobile subscriber and ARPU forecasts;
  • Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- November 2015 (13th Edition)

Executive Summary

Bulgaria’s telco incumbent again to be put up for sale

Bulgaria’s telecoms market in recent years has been affected by the country’s poor macroeconomic climate, which has contributed to steadily declining revenue across the sector since 2008. This has been exacerbated by consumer trends which have seen the continuing decline in the fixed-line sector as voice is replaced by mobile and VoIP alternatives. In addition, SMS and MMS services are being pressed by the growing use of alternative OTT messaging, so eroding an important revenue stream for mobile networks operators. These can also now expect a further reduction in roaming revenue following the decision by the European Commission to bring international roaming rates in line with domestic rates. Nevertheless, there are considerable opportunities for telcos further to develop popular bundled packages.

The telecom sector has also benefitted from Bulgaria’s adoption of EU regulatory measures, which has encouraged investment in the sector from other telcos as well as private equity firms. The privatised incumbent Vivacom has been subject to several sales and changes of ownership in recent years, with the company’s current owners VTB Capital again viewing a possible sale in 2016. Vivacom remains the dominant player in Bulgaria, though in the mobile sector it is on a par with Telenor Bulgaria in terms of subscribers share.

Bulgaria’s broadband market enjoys excellent cross-platform competition. Vivacom has invested in fibre networks, and by mid-2015 its infrastructure passed almost one million premises. The number of fibre subscribers has grown rapidly in recent years as customers migrate from DSL infrastructure. By late 2015 an estimated two-thirds of subscribers were on fibre (FttX) networks. Into 2016 this migration will continue rapidly, increasing the market share of fibre and DOCSIS3.0-enabled HFC networks and strengthening the take-up of high-end bundled services and video-streaming.

The mobile market enjoys effective competition between Telekom Austria’s M-Tel, Telenor’s local unit and Vivacom. This competition has intensified in recent years following the implementation of a streamlined mobile number portability process. Vivacom has also branched into the fixed-line market, acquiring a number of fibre-based ISPs. Mobile offerings are increasingly focused on mobile broadband, resulting in considerable investment in network upgrades among all operators.

This report provides an overview of Bulgaria’s fixed-line telecom market, including key information on regulatory developments, an overview of the major operators and statistics related to network infrastructure. The report also provides insights into the broadband and digital media markets, reviewing technologies, the major players, and the key developments and trends as the market develops into one focussed on fibre and faster services. The report in addition presents a concise overview of the mobile voice and data markets, offering a variety of statistics and analysis covering the major operators, market developments and services offered.

Key developments:

  • VTB Capital planning for the sale of Vivacom;
  • Regulator co-operates with Montenegrin telecom regulator to reduce cost of telecom services;
  • MobilTel covers one million households with fixed network;
  • Amended Electronic Communications Act focused on enhancing regulator’s powers;
  • Blizoo launches LTE services on MAX’s network;
  • Regulator re-opens tender for spectrum in the 2.5-2.6GHz band;
  • HSPA+ coverage extended;
  • Mobile sector representing nearly half of all telecom revenue;
  • MNP takes off under new regulatory measures;
  • Telekom Austria Group acquires Blizoo Bulgaria from EQT; Vivacom re-acquires NURTS DTTV provider;
  • Government investment program for broadband in rural areas;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data for 2014; telcos’ operating data to Q3 2015; recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Vivacom, Orbitel, Vestitel, MobilTel, Trans Telecom (Bulgarian Telecom and Television), Blizoo, Telenor Bulgaria.

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