Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.
Montenegro’s fixed broadband services are available via a variety of technology platforms including DSL, cable, leased line, fibre and wireless. The fibre sector has shown particularly strong growth since 2010 as the incumbent has invested in infrastructure upgrades, albeit mainly to serve apartment blocks in the main towns. The number of fibre connections increased 24% in the year to September 2019 and accounted for 34% of all fixed broadband connections. The share held by DSL is marginally higher, a legacy of the incumbent’s copper network coupled with its existing market presence and range of service offerings that include broadband TV, but it is falling steadily.
Mobile penetration is particularly high, though this is partly due to the significant number of tourists visiting the country seasonally, as also to the popularity of subscribers having multiple prepaid cards. Networks are based on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE technologies support a vibrant mobile broadband services sector. The wide availability of LTE has made mobile broadband a viable alternative to fixed-line broadband in many rural areas. Recent multi-band spectrum auctions stipulated that mobile broadband services were to be made available to 95% of the population by mid-2018. An auction for spectrum in the 700MHz band, being coordinated with Albania, will support the launch of 5G services anticipated by the end of 2020.
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.
Crnogorski Telekom (T-Mobile Montenegro), M:tel, Telenor Montenegro
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