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North Macedonia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 23 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 89

North Macedonia makes progress with regional roaming

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was renamed as the Republic of North Macedonia in February 2019. The country has been a European Union (EU) candidate since 2005. As part of the EU pre-accession process, North Macedonia has built closer economic ties with the Union which accounts for 60% of Macedonia’s exports and about half of its imports. Closer regulatory and administrative ties with European Commission (EC) institutions have done much to develop the telecom sector and prepare the market for the competitive environment encouraged in the EU.

As part of EU integration legislation has implemented the principles of the EU’s regulatory framework for communications, established an independent regulator and set out several provisions to provide for a competitive telecom market, including wholesale access to the incumbent’s fixed-line network. Although the fixed telephony market has been liberalised, the incumbent MakTel continues to dominate the sector. Broadband services are widely available, with effective competition between DSL and cable platforms complemented by wireless broadband and a developing fibre sector. The number of DSL subscribers has continued to fall in recent years as customers are migrated to fibre networks.

Macedonia’s mobile market is served by only two mobile network operators, MakTel and A1 Macedonia (known as One.Vip before a rebranding exercise in September 2019), the latter being formed by the merger of the local business units of Telekom Slovenije and Telekom Austria. A1 Macedonia in May 2016 was also merged with its sister company Blizoo, and so has been able to provide a full suite of converged services. Mobile data services are becoming increasingly important following investments in LTE network rollouts and in upgrades to LTE-A technology.

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.

Key Developments:

  • North Macedonia and other Balkan countries agree to end roaming charges by July 2021;
  • One.Vip rebranded as A1 Macedonia;
  • Regulator develops market conditions to promote more MVNOs;
  • Makedonski Telekom completes PSTN migration to an all-IP network, signs managed services agreement with its vendor partner Ericsson;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data updates to Q1 2019, telcos' operating and financial data to Q2 2019, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Makedonski Telekom, A1 Macedonia (VIP Operator, One.Vip), Blizoo (formerly CableTel), Telekom Slovenije.

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