Bulgaria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Bulgaria’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband 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;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- October 2018 (17th Edition)

Executive Summary

Bulgaria’s MNOs trial 5G for 2020 launch

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

Henry Lancaster
October 2019

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

    • Country overview
  • Telecommunications market

    • Market analysis
    • Regional European Market Comparison
      • Europe Telecom Maturity Index by tier
      • TMI versus GDP
      • Mobile and mobile broadband penetration
      • Fixed versus mobile broadband penetration
  • Regulatory environment

    • Historical overview
    • Regulatory authority
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Privatisation
    • Interconnect
      • Access
    • Number Portability (NP)
    • Carrier selection/Carrier PreSelection
  • Fixed network operators

    • Introduction
    • Vivacom/Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)
    • A1 Bulgaria
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International networks
  • Broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
      • Market analysis
      • Broadband statistics
    • Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
    • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
    • Other fixed broadband services
      • World Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
      • Satellite broadband
  • Digital economy

    • E-government
    • E-health
  • Mobile communications

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
      • General statistics
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 5G
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G
      • GSM
      • Mobile voice
      • Mobile data
      • Mobile broadband
    • Regulatory issues
      • GSM licences
      • Third generation (3G) licences
      • 800MHz
      • 1800MHz
      • 2.5-2.6GHz
      • Other spectrum
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Roaming
      • Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
    • Major mobile operators
      • Vivacom
      • A1 Bulgaria (MobilTel/M-Tel)
      • Telenor Bulgaria (Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile/GloBul)
      • Mobile content and applications
      • Mobile virtual network Operators (MVNOs)
  • Appendix – Historic data


List of Tables

  • 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

List of Charts

  • 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

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 2 – Access, the local loop and unbundling – an overview

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