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

  • December 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 69 pages

Bulgaria’s telecom sector revenue under continuing pressure
Bulgaria’s telecoms market continues to be affected by the country’s poor macroeconomic climate and high unemployment. These factors are exacerbated by the 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 network operators. Further pressure is anticipated in 2017, particularly with international roaming rates having to fall in line with domestic rates.

The telecom sector has nevertheless 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 incumbent Vivacom has been privatised, and the government no longer holds the ‘golden share’ which had enabled it to veto certain key decisions. In August 2016 Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) completed the acquisition of InterV Investment, which indirectly owns Vivacom, for €330 million. Although the liberalised market has attracted new market entrants, Vivacom remains the dominant player.

Bulgaria has a rapidly developing mobile market, with effective competition provided by Telekom Austria’s M-Tel, Telenor’s local unit, and the incumbent Vivacom. A new entrant, MAX (Max Telecom), provides additional competition. 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. By the end of 2016 mobile networks accounted for about 85% of all voice revenue.

Mobile data offerings are focused on mobile broadband, resulting in considerable investment in network upgrades among all players.
The broadband market enjoys excellent cross-platform competition, including DSL, cable, fibre, WiMAX and LAN-based services. While the share of the market held by cable has increased slightly in recent years, the DSL sector is losing market share as a result of customers being migrated to fibre networks. Operators including Vivacom and Cooolbox now provide gigabit services, with Vivacom’s fibre infrastructure covering about 1.07 million premises by September 2016. By late 2015 an estimated two-thirds of subscribers were connected to fibre networks.

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.

This report provides an overview of Bulgaria’s fixed-line telecom market, including data on regulatory developments, the strategies and performances of the major operators and an assessment of the evolution of fixed-line networks. The report also reviews the mobile market, offering a variety of statistics and insightful analyses covering the major operators, market developments and services offered. In addition, the report assesses the broadband and digital media markets, including an overview of the technologies, major players and market developments, as well as a variety of statistics and fixed broadband forecasts to 2021.

Key developments:

Regulator to introduce IP interconnection from the beginning of 2017;
Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) acquires Vivacom for €330 million;
Regulator signs MoU with Montenegrin telecom regulator to cooperate on reducing cost of telecom services;
MobilTel covers one million households with fixed network;
Cooolbox launches 1Gb/s FttP service;
Telekom Austria Group acquires Blizoo Bulgaria from EQT;
Vivacom re-acquires NURTS DTTV provider;
Consolidation among cable TV players;
Vivacom increases satellite broadband service to 18Mb/s;
Government investment program for broadband in rural areas;
Vivacom’s FiberNet offer passes 1.07 million premises;
Regulator awards additional spectrum in the 1800MHz band for LTE use;
MNP takes off under new regulatory measures;
M-Tel extends LTE roll-out;
Report update includes the regulator’s market data to 2015, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q3 2016, recent market developments.


Companies mentioned in this report:

Vivacom (BTC), 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 2016; 2018; 2021
6.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
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 Videostreaming
7.3.2 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
7.3.3 Cable TV (CATV)
7.3.4 Satellite TV
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 Mobile data
9.2.3 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 800MHz
9.3.7 1800MHz
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

List of Tables

Table 1 Country statistics 2016 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2016 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2016 (e)
Table 4 Fixed-line broadband subscriber statistics 2016 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2016 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector revenue, annual change 2006 - 2015
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 - 2015
Table 9 Proportion of telecom sector revenue by service 2011 - 2015
Table 10 Fixed-voice revenue by type 2011 - 2015
Table 11 Cumulative fixed number portings 2009 - 2015
Table 12 Vivacom financial data 2003 - 2016
Table 13 Vivacom financial data by sector 2010 - 2016
Table 14 Vivacom subscribers by sector 2012 - 2016
Table 15 MobilTel fixed-telephony and broadband RGUs 2011 - 2016
Table 16 MobilTel fixed access lines 2011 - 2016
Table 17 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 - 2017
Table 18 International bandwidth 2000 - 2015
Table 19 Internet users and penetration rates 2000 - 2017
Table 20 Fixed-line broadband market share by access type 2009 - 2015
Table 21 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2017
Table 22 Fixed broadband subscribers by data speed 2010- 2015
Table 23 Data/internet retail and wholesale revenue 2008 - 2015
Table 24 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers higher growth scenario 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 25 MobilTel broadband subscribers 2011 - 2016
Table 26 Cable broadband subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 27 DSL subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 28 Vivacom broadband subscribers 2013 - 2016
Table 29 Vivacom fibre broadband connections and homes passed 2013 2016
Table 30 FttP subscribers 2008 - 2017
Table 31 Proportion of analogue/digital viewing 2008 - 2015
Table 32 Broadcasting revenue by service 2010 2015
Table 33 Penetration of TV services among households 2009 - 2015
Table 34 Radio/TV share of revenue by service 2013 - 2015
Table 35 Radio/TV share of revenue by platform 2013 - 2015
Table 36 Proportion of pay TV subscribers by platform 2012 - 2015
Table 37 TV service received in bundled offers 2010 - 2015
Table 38 Bundled service subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 39 Bundled service revenue 2012 - 2015
Table 40 IPTV subscribers 2008 - 2015
Table 41 IPTV revenue 2008 - 2015
Table 42 Vivacom pay TV and IPTV subscribers 2013 - 2016
Table 43 Cable TV subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 44 Satellite TV subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 45 Satellite broadcasting revenue 2008 - 2015
Table 46 Mobile network coverage by operator 2015
Table 47 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration 1995 - 2009
Table 48 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2017
Table 49 Mobile base stations in service by technology 2012 - 2015
Table 50 Mobile sector revenue 2009 - 2017
Table 51 Proportion of mobile revenue by service 2010 - 2015
Table 52 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006 - 2015
Table 53 Mobile market share of revenue by operator 2007- 2015
Table 54 Mobile market revenue share by service 2008 - 2015
Table 55 Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers 2002 - 2015
Table 56 MobilTel prepaid subscribers 2004 - 2016
Table 57 Total SMS messages sent 2003 - 2017
Table 58 Total MMS messages sent 2003 - 2017
Table 59 Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 - 2015
Table 60 MobilTel mobile broadband subscribers 2008 - 2016
Table 61 Annual mobile number portings 2008 - 2015
Table 62 European roaming charges 2007 2016
Table 63 European data roaming charges 2014 - 2017
Table 64 MTRs 2014 - 2016
Table 65 Vivacom mobile subscribers 2012 - 2016
Table 66 Vivacom mobile revenue 2009 - 2016
Table 67 MobilTel financial data 2005 - 2016
Table 68 MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2004 - 2016
Table 69 MobilTel mobile subscribers 2007 - 2016
Table 70 MobilTel Minutes of Use (MOU) 2007 - 2016
Table 71 Historic - Telenor Bulgaria financial data () 2009 - 2013
Table 72 Historic - Telenor Bulgaria mobile services revenue () 2011 - 2013
Table 73 Telenor Bulgaria financial data (NOK) 2013 - 2016
Table 74 Telenor Bulgaria subscribers 2007 - 2016

List of Charts

Chart 1 Telecom sector revenue by service 2008 2015
Chart 2 Vivacom financial data 2003 2016
Chart 3 Vivacom financial data by sector 2010 2016
Chart 4 Vivacom subscribers by sector 2012 2016
Chart 5 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2000 2017
Chart 6 Fixed-line broadband market share by access type 2009 2015
Chart 7 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 2017
Chart 8 Broadcasting revenue by service 2010 2015
Chart 9 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2002 - 2017
Chart 10 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2006 - 2015
Chart 11 Mobile market revenue share by service 2008 2015
Chart 12 MobilTel financial data 2005 - 2016
Chart 13 MobilTel prepaid, postpaid and blended monthly ARPU 2004 - 2016
Chart 14 Telenor Bulgaria financial data (NOK) 2013 2016
Chart 15 Telenor Bulgaria subscribers 2007 2016

List of Exhibits

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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