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Bulgaria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

  • November 2015
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 65 pages

Bulgaria’s telco incumbent again to be put up for sale
Bulgaria’s telecoms market in recent years has been affected by the country’s poor macroeconomic climate, which has contributed to steadily declining revenue across the sector since 2008. This has been exacerbated by consumer trends which have seen the continuing decline in the fixed-line sector as voice is replaced by mobile and VoIP alternatives. In addition, SMS and MMS services are being pressed by the growing use of alternative OTT messaging, so eroding an important revenue stream for mobile networks operators. These can also now expect a further reduction in roaming revenue following the decision by the European Commission to bring international roaming rates in line with domestic rates. Nevertheless, there are considerable opportunities for telcos further to develop popular bundled packages.

The telecom sector has also benefitted from Bulgaria’s adoption of EU regulatory measures, which has encouraged investment in the sector from other telcos as well as private equity firms. The privatised incumbent Vivacom has been subject to several sales and changes of ownership in recent years, with the company’s current owners VTB Capital again viewing a possible sale in 2016. Vivacom remains the dominant player in Bulgaria, though in the mobile sector it is on a par with Telenor Bulgaria in terms of subscribers share.

Bulgaria’s broadband market enjoys excellent cross-platform competition. Vivacom has invested in fibre networks, and by mid-2015 its infrastructure passed almost one million premises. The number of fibre subscribers has grown rapidly in recent years as customers migrate from DSL infrastructure. By late 2015 an estimated two-thirds of subscribers were on fibre (FttX) networks. Into 2016 this migration will continue rapidly, increasing the market share of fibre and DOCSIS3.0-enabled HFC networks and strengthening the take-up of high-end bundled services and video-streaming.

The mobile market enjoys effective competition between Telekom Austria’s M-Tel, Telenor’s local unit and Vivacom. This competition has intensified in recent years following the implementation of a streamlined mobile number portability process. Vivacom has also branched into the fixed-line market, acquiring a number of fibre-based ISPs. Mobile offerings are increasingly focused on mobile broadband, resulting in considerable investment in network upgrades among all operators.

This report provides an overview of Bulgaria’s fixed-line telecom market, including key information on regulatory developments, an overview of the major operators and statistics related to network infrastructure. The report also provides insights into the broadband and digital media markets, reviewing technologies, the major players, and the key developments and trends as the market develops into one focussed on fibre and faster services. The report in addition presents a concise overview of the mobile voice and data markets, offering a variety of statistics and analysis covering the major operators, market developments and
services offered.


Key developments:
VTB Capital planning for the sale of Vivacom;
Regulator co-operates with Montenegrin telecom regulator to reduce cost of telecom services;
MobilTel covers one million households with fixed network;
Amended Electronic Communications Act focused on enhancing regulator’s powers;
Blizoo launches LTE services on MAX’s network;
Regulator re-opens tender for spectrum in the 2.5-2.6GHz band;
HSPA+ coverage extended;
Mobile sector representing nearly half of all telecom revenue;
MNP takes off under new regulatory measures;
Telekom Austria Group acquires Blizoo Bulgaria from EQT; Vivacom re-acquires NURTS DTTV provider;
Government investment program for broadband in rural areas;
Report update includes the regulator’s market data for 2014; telcos’ operating data to Q3 2015; recent market developments.

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

Table Of Contents

Bulgaria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
1. Key statistics
1.1 Country overview
2. Telecommunications market
2.1 Market analysis
3. Regulatory environment
3.1 Historical overview
3.2 Revised NFR
3.3 Regulatory authority
3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.5 Privatisation
3.6 Interconnect
3.6.1 Access
3.7 Number Portability (NP)
3.8 Carrier selection/Carrier PreSelection
4. Fixed network operators
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Vivacom/Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)
4.3 Orbitel
4.4 Vestitel
4.5 MobilTel
5. Telecommunications infrastructure
5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
5.2 International networks
6. Broadband market
6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
6.1.1 Market analysis
6.1.2 Broadband statistics
6.1.3 Forecasts broadband subscribers 2015; 2017; 2020
6.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
6.3 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
6.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
6.5 Other fixed broadband services
6.5.1 World Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
6.5.2 Satellite broadband
7. Digital media
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Bundled services
7.3 Digital TV
7.3.1 Broadband TV (IPTV)
7.3.2 Video-on-Demand (VoD)
7.3.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
7.3.4 Cable TV (CATV)
7.3.5 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
8. Digital economy
8.1 Introduction
8.2 E-government
8.3 E-health
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Market analysis
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.2.1 General statistics
9.2.2 Market share
9.2.3 Mobile data
9.2.4 Mobile broadband
9.3 Regulatory issues
9.3.1 First GSM licence
9.3.2 Second GSM licence
9.3.3 Third GSM licence
9.3.4 Fourth GSM licence
9.3.5 Third generation (3G) licences
9.3.6 Fourth Generation spectrum auction
9.3.7 1800MHz band
9.3.8 2.5-2.6GHz
9.3.9 TETRA licences
9.3.10 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
9.3.11 Roaming
9.3.12 Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
9.4 Mobile infrastructure
9.4.1 Digital networks
9.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
9.5 Major mobile operators
9.5.1 Vivacom
9.5.2 MobilTel/M-Tel
9.5.3 Telenor Bulgaria (Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile/GloBul)
9.5.4 Mobile content and applications
Table 1 Country statistics 2015 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2015 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2015 (e)
Table 4 Fixed-line broadband subscriber statistics 2015 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2015 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector revenue, annual change 2006 - 2015
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 - 2014
Table 9 Proportion of telecom sector revenue by service 2011 - 2014
Table 10 Fixed-voice revenue by type 2011 - 2014
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 - 2015
Table 15 Vivacom financial data by sector 2010 - 2015
Table 16 Vivacom subscribers by sector 2012 - 2015
Table 17 MobilTel fixed-telephony and broadband subscribers 2011 - 2015
Table 18 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 - 2015
Table 19 International bandwidth 2000 - 2014
Table 20 Internet users and penetration rates 2000 - 2015
Table 21 Broadband market share by access type 2009 - 2014
Table 22 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2016
Table 23 Fixed broadband subscribers by data speed 2010- 2014
Table 24 Data/internet retail and wholesale revenue 2008 - 2014
Table 25 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers higher growth scenario 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 26 MobilTel broadband subscribers 2011 - 2015
Table 27 Cable broadband subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 28 ADSL subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 29 Vivacom broadband subscribers 2013 - 2015
Table 30 Vivacom fibre broadband connections and homes passed 2013 - 2015
Table 31 FttP subscribers 2008 - 2015
Table 32 Proportion of analogue/digital viewing 2008 - 2014
Table 33 Broadcasting revenue by service 2010 2014
Table 34 Penetration of TV services 2009 - 2014
Table 35 Proportion of pay TV subscribers by platform 2012 - 2014
Table 36 TV service received in bundled offers 2010 - 2014
Table 37 IPTV subscribers 2008 - 2014
Table 38 IPTV revenue 2008 - 2014
Table 39 Cable TV subscribers 2006 - 2014
Table 40 Satellite TV subscribers 2006 - 2014
Table 41 Satellite broadcasting revenue 2008 - 2014
Table 42 ICT usage by businesses 2006 - 2011
Table 43 E-education usage by individuals 2007 - 2012
Table 44 E-education usage by businesses 2007 - 2012
Table 45 Mobile network coverage by operator 2014
Table 46 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration 1995 - 2004
Table 47 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2016
Table 48 Mobile sector revenue 2009 - 2015
Table 49 Proportion of mobile revenue by service 2010 - 2014
Table 50 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006- 2014
Table 51 Mobile market share of revenue by operator 2007- 2014
Table 52 Mobile market revenue share by service 2008 - 2014
Table 53 Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers 2002 - 2014
Table 54 MobilTel prepaid subscribers 2004 - 2015
Table 55 Total SMS messages sent 2003 - 2015
Table 56 Total MMS messages sent 2003 - 2015
Table 57 Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 - 2015
Table 58 MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers 2008 - 2015
Table 59 UMTS population coverage by operator 2014
Table 60 Cumulative mobile number portings 2008 - 2012
Table 61 European roaming charges 2007 - 2014
Table 62 European retail data roaming charges 2012 - 2014
Table 63 European wholesale roaming charges 2012 - 2014
Table 64 Vivacom mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 65 Vivacom mobile service revenue 2009 - 2015
Table 66 MobilTel financial data 2005 - 2015
Table 67 MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2004 - 2015
Table 68 MobilTel mobile subscribers 2007 - 2015
Table 69 MobilTel Minutes of Use (MOU) 2007 - 2015
Table 70 Telenor Bulgaria financial data () 2009 - 2013
Table 71 Telenor Bulgaria mobile services revenue () 2011 - 2013
Table 72 Telenor Bulgaria financial data (NOK) 2013 - 2015
Table 73 Telenor Bulgaria subscribers 2007 - 2015
Chart 1 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 2014
Chart 2 Vivacom financial data 2003 2015
Chart 3 Vivacom financial data by sector 2010 2015
Chart 4 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 2015
Chart 5 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 2016
Chart 6 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2002 - 2016
Chart 7 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006- 2014
Chart 8 Mobile market revenue share by service 2008 2014
Chart 9 MobilTel financial data 2005 - 2015
Chart 10 MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2004 - 2015
Chart 11 Telenor Bulgaria 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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