Serbia’s telecom sector revenue returns to growth
Following an economically and politically turbulent period during the 1990s, Serbia started the first decade of the new millennium with strong GDP growth until the economic crisis of 2008. GDP growth soon recovered but more recently it has been stymied by the poor performance of Serbia’s principal trading markets, including Italy and Greece.
Economic difficulties prompted the government to adopt a range of fiscal measures to raise revenue, including a short-term imposition of a 10% tax on telecom services. Similarly, the economic difficulties, compounded by a range of regulatory measures, saw a steady fall in telecom market revenue for a number of years although not all markets were affected equally. Telecom sector revenue improved in 2017, growing 1% year-on-year.
Serbia’s integration with the European Union (EU), formalised by the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2008, has encouraged the government and regulator to adopted measures aimed at promoting telecoms reform. The Agreement oversees closer integration with the EU and covers commitments to political, economic, trade, or human rights reform. In addition, as part of the EU pre-accession process, Serbia has received financial aid to build public institutions and improve cross-border co-operation. Serbia has been an official EU candidate country since January 2014.
EU reforms have been fundamental to Serbia’s telecom sector. The EU’s regulatory framework for communications (the NRF), adopted in mid-2010, promotes competition as the most efficient way to offer communications products and services while ensuring universal access.
Considerable network investment has been undertaken by incumbent and alternative operators in recent years, despite economic difficulties. This has helped to stimulate internet usage, which has also been bolstered by improved affordability as prices are reduced through competition.
Serbia’s high mobile penetration, the result of multiple SIM card use, has seen lower revenue in recent years, placing further pressure on operators to develop business models which encourage consumer use of mobile data services as also the continued substitution of fixed-line for mobile voice calls.
Mobilna Telefonija Srbija (MTS), Telekom Serbia, VIP Mobile, Telenor Serbia, Serbia Broadband (SBB), I.KOM, Knight Development Support, Invest-Inženjering, Beogrid, JET TV, Kopernikus Technology, BeotelNet, Sat Trakt, Telemark and Radijus vektor.
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Number of pages 98
Last updated 12 Sep 2018
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
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