Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.
The Moldovan telecom market saw several years of solid growth, particularly in the fixed-line and mobile broadband sectors. However, a combination of high unemployment and economic difficulties have led to constraints on consumer spend, resulting in telecom revenue having fallen since 2016. This decline continued into the first half of 2019, with a fall in overall revenue of 5.4%.
Moldova’s aspirations to join the European Union (EU) have encouraged the government and regulator to adopt a range of measures to bring the country’s telecoms sector into line with EU principles and standards. In July 2017 the Electronic Communications Act was amended to accommodate the 2009 European regulatory framework, while further amendments were adopted in December 2017 and additional changes were proposed in 2019.
Moldova’s internet market is developing rapidly, and though the penetration rate is well below the average for many European countries there are many opportunities for further development. The market is highly competitive, with 94 active ISPs, though Moldtelecom and Starnet between them account for most connections. The number of cable broadband subscribers is increasing steadily, though fibre is now by far the strongest sector. By mid-2019 fibre accounted for about 62% of all fixed broadband connections, and almost two-thirds of all connections provided data rates of above 30Mb/s.
The mobile market has also grown rapidly, and the sector accounts for the majority of total telecoms revenue. A triopoly of operators is dominated by Orange Moldova, while the launch of LTE services has opened up a new revenue growth opportunity centred on mobile broadband. The near comprehensive geographical reach of their mobile networks, market brand recognition and existing customer relationships will make for steady subscriber growth in coming years.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.
Moldtelecom, Orange Moldova; Moldcell, IDC
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