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Bulgaria - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

  • December 2014
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 62 pages

FttP subscriber base shows annual growth over 110%
Bulgaria's telecoms market in recent years has been affected by the poor macroeconomic climate as well as consumer trends which have led to the continuing decline in fixed-line voice services and placed stress on messaging services. These consumer patterns are likely to continue into 2015, leading to lower revenue for operators, though there are considerable opportunities for them to develop popular bundled packages.

The adoption of EU regulatory measures has created a stable regulatory environment, attracting much foreign investment in the sector. The incumbent Vivacom has been privatised, and the government no longer holds the 'golden share' which had enabled it to veto certain key decisions. The liberalised market has attracted new market entrants although Vivacom remains the dominant player.

The broadband market benefits from excellent cross-platform competition, including DSL, cable, FttX, WiMAX and LAN-based services. The country has undertaken steps to develop an internet society encompassing commerce, health and government services. Cable TV penetration is well above the EU average and the market has undergone considerable consolidation. Digital TV is also widely available via broadband TV and satellite. The incumbent Vivacom has invested in fibre networks, and by September 2014 its infrastructure reached more than 830,000 premises. The number of fibre subscribers grew 110% in 2013, and similar growth is expected in 2015 as customers migrate from legacy DSL.

Bulgaria has a strong mobile market, served by Telekom Austria's M-Tel, Telenor's local unit, and the incumbent Vivacom. Mobile penetration is relatively high, the result of a significant trend for fixed-mobile substitution in recent years. Competition among network operators has intensified given the recent implementation of a streamlined mobile number portability process. Vivacom has also branched into the fixed-line market, acquiring a number of fibre-based broadband internet service providers. Mobile data offerings are focused on mobile broadband, resulting in considerable investment in network upgrades among all players.

Key developments:
Vivacom reports marginal drop in revenue into 2014; regulator signs MoU with Montenegrin telecom regulator to cooperate on reducing cost of telecom services; amended Electronic Communications Act focused on enhancing regulator's powers; further draft amendments to provide regulator with additional powers; Vestitel begins building second Greece-Bulgaria fibre link; GloBul rebranded as Telenor Bulgaria; Max Telecom launches Bulgaria's first commercial LTE network; regulator consults on the use of remaining 1800MHz band; MobilTel extends its GSM licence; MNOs fined for MNP non-compliance; HSPA+ coverage extended; mobile sector representing nearly half of all telecom sector revenue; Vivacom reports strong growth in mobile broadband subscriber base; MNP takes off under new regulatory measures; M-Tel extends LTE roll-out; Vivacom makes bid to re-acquire NURTS DTTV provider; Satellite BG ceases broadcasting; new cableco association launched; consolidation among cable TV players; Vivacom increases satellite broadband service to 18Mb/s; government investment program for broadband in rural areas; Vivacom FiberNet offer to reach one million households by end-2014; regulator's market data updates for 2013; telcos' operating data to Q3 2014; recent market developments

Companies and subsidiaries mentioned in this report include:
Orbitel, Vestitel, MobilTel, Trans Telecom, Vivacom, Bulgarian Telecom and Television, Blizoo, GloBul, Telenor Bulgaria.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year

Table Of Contents

Bulgaria - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts
1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview of Bulgaria's telecom market
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 History
3.1.1 Revised NFR
3.2 Regulatory authority
3.2.1 Communications Regulation Commission (CRC)
3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Bulgaria
3.3.1 Privatisation
3.3.2 Interconnect
3.3.3 Access
3.3.4 Number Portability (NP)
3.3.5 Carrier selection/carrier PreSelection
4. Fixed Network Market
4.1 Overview of operators
4.1.1 Vivacom/Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)
4.1.2 Orbitel
4.1.3 Vestitel
4.1.4 MobilTel
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 Overview
5.1.1 International networks
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Fixed broadband overview
6.2 Broadband statistics
6.3 Bulgaria's emerging internet society
6.3.1 E-government
6.3.2 E-health
6.4 Cable
6.5 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
6.6 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
6.7 Wireless broadband
6.7.1 World Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
6.8 Satellite broadband
6.8.1 Mobile broadband
7. Digital Media
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Bundled services
7.1.2 Digital TV
8. Mobile Communications
8.1 Overview of Bulgaria's mobile market
8.1.1 Mobile statistics
8.1.2 Market share
8.2 Regulatory issues
8.2.1 First GSM licence
8.2.2 Second GSM licence
8.2.3 Third GSM licence
8.2.4 Fourth GSM licence
8.2.5 Third generation (3G) licences
8.2.6 Fourth Generation spectrum auction
8.2.7 1800MHz band
8.2.8 TETRA licences
8.2.9 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
8.2.10 EU roaming tariffs
8.2.11 Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
8.3 Mobile technologies
8.3.1 GSM
8.3.2 TETRA
8.3.3 Third generation mobile (3G)
8.4 Major mobile operators
8.4.1 Vivacom
8.4.2 MobilTel/M-Tel
8.4.3 Telenor Bulgaria (Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile/GloBul)
8.5 Mobile voice services
8.5.1 Prepaid cards
8.6 Mobile data services
8.6.1 Overview
8.6.2 Short Message Service (SMS)/Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
8.6.3 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
8.6.4 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
8.6.5 Evolved High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)
8.6.6 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
8.6.7 Mobile TV
8.6.8 Mobile broadband
8.7 Mobile content and applications
8.7.1 M-commerce (micropayments)
9. Forecasts
9.1 Fixed broadband forecasts 2010 - 2013; 2020
9.1.1 Scenario 1 higher broadband subscriber growth
9.1.2 Scenario 2 lower broadband subscriber growth
Table 1 Country statistics 2014 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2014 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2014 (e)
Table 4 Fixed-line broadband subscriber statistics 2014 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector revenue, annual change 2006 - 2014
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 - 2013
Table 9 Proportion of telecom sector revenue by service 2011 - 2013
Table 10 Fixed-voice revenue by type 2011 - 2013
Table 11 BTC interconnection rates 2006 - 2009
Table 12 Cost of local loop unbundling and shared access 2006 - 2009
Table 13 Cumulative fixed number portings 2009 - 2012
Table 14 Vivacom financial data 2003 - 2014
Table 15 Vivacom financial data by sector 2010 - 2014
Table 16 Vivacom subscribers by sector 2012 - 2014
Table 17 MobilTel fixed-telephony and broadband subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 18 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 - 2014
Table 19 Internet users and penetration rates 2000 - 2014
Table 20 Broadband market share by access type 2009 - 2013
Table 21 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2015
Table 22 Fixed broadband subscribers by data speed 2010- 2013
Table 23 Data/internet retail and wholesale revenue 2008 - 2013
Table 24 ICT usage by businesses 2006 - 2011
Table 25 E-education usage by individuals 2007 - 2012
Table 26 E-education usage by businesses 2007 - 2012
Table 27 Uptake of e-government services by businesses 2004 - 2010
Table 28 Uptake of e-government services by individuals 2004 - 2010
Table 29 MobilTel broadband subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 30 Cable broadband subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 31 ADSL subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 32 Vivacom FttX connections and homes passed 2013 - 2014
Table 33 FttP subscribers 2008 - 2014
Table 34 MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers 2008 - 2014
Table 35 Proportion of analogue/digital viewing 2008 - 2012
Table 36 Broadcasting revenue by service 2010 - 2013
Table 37 Penetration of TV services 2009 - 2013
Table 38 TV service received in bundled offers 2010 - 2013
Table 39 IPTV subscribers 2008 - 2012
Table 40 IPTV revenue 2008 - 2012
Table 41 Cable TV subscribers 2006 - 2012
Table 42 Satellite TV subscribers 2006 - 2012
Table 43 Satellite broadcasting revenue 2008 - 2013
Table 44 Mobile network coverage by operator 2013
Table 45 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration 1995 - 2004
Table 46 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2014
Table 47 Mobile sector revenue 2009 - 2014
Table 48 Proportion of mobile revenue by service 2010 - 2013
Table 49 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006- 2013
Table 50 Mobile market share of revenue by operator 2007- 2013
Table 51 Mobile market revenue share by service 2008 - 2013
Table 52 UMTS population coverage by operator 2013
Table 53 Cumulative mobile number portings 2008 - 2012
Table 54 European roaming charges 2007 - 2014
Table 55 European retail data roaming charges 2012 - 2014
Table 56 European wholesale roaming charges 2012 - 2014
Table 57 Vivacom mobile subscribers 2012 - 2014
Table 58 Vivacom mobile revenue 2009 - 2014
Table 59 MobilTel financial data 2005 - 2014
Table 60 MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2004 - 2014
Table 61 MobilTel mobile subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 62 MobilTel Minutes of Use (MOU) 2007 - 2014
Table 63 Telenor (GloBul) financial data 2009 - 2013
Table 64 Telenor (GloBul) mobile services revenue 2011 - 2013
Table 65 Telenor Bulgaria financial data (NOK) 2013 - 2014
Table 66 Telenor Bulgaria subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 67 Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers 2002 - 2013
Table 68 MobilTel prepaid subscribers 2004 - 2014
Table 69 Total SMS messages sent 2003 - 2014
Table 70 Total MMS messages sent 2003 - 2014
Table 71 Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 - 2012
Table 72 MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers 2008 - 2014
Table 73 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers higher growth scenario 2013; 2015; 2020
Table 74 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers lower growth scenario 2010 - 2013; 2020
Chart 1 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 2013
Chart 2 Vivacom financial data 2003 2014
Chart 3 Vivacom financial data by sector 2010 2014
Chart 4 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 2014
Chart 5 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 2015
Chart 6 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2002 - 2014
Chart 7 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006- 2013
Chart 8 Mobile market revenue share by service 2008 2013
Chart 9 MobilTel financial data 2005 - 2014
Chart 10 MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2004 - 2014
Chart 11 Telenor (GloBul) financial data 2009 - 2013
Exhibit 1 The EU regulatory framework for communications
Exhibit 2 Access, the local loop and unbundling an overview
Exhibit 3 The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) annual E-readiness criteria

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