Macedonia – Delayed LTE auction preps for mobile broadband expansion in 2014

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Macedonia) has been a European Union (EU) candidate country since 2005. As part of the EU pre-accession process, the country has built closer economic ties with the Union: the EU 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 a number of 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 continues to dominate the sector. Broadband services are widely available, with effective competition between DSL and cable platforms complemented by wireless broadband and a nascent FttX sector.

Broadband services are available via DSL, fibre, cable and wireless and the incumbent has launched IPTV services in competition with well-established cable TV operators.

Macedonia’s mobile market is served by a triopoly of mobile network operators, two of which benefit from the technical know-how and financial resources of parent companies Deutsche Telekom and Telekom Austria. Mobile data services are also available and this market is also expected to become increasingly important as new subscriber additions fade in the maturing mobile voice market. With WCDMA/HSPA networks in place, the focus for mobile data has shifted to mobile broadband offerings.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2013

Sector

2010

2013 (e)

Subscribers to telecoms services (thousand):
Fixed-broadband 257 342
Fixed-line telephony 413 400
Mobile telephony 2,153 2,245
Subscriber penetration rate:
Fixed-broadband 11% 16%
Fixed-line telephony 20% 19%
Mobile SIM 105% 109%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Market highlights:

  • Competitors are making inroads into the fixed telephony market, with alternative operators representing a growing proportion of fixed lines. EU-mandated regulatory measures have improved market prospects for competitors.
  • Broadband uptake growth is expected to maintain momentum during the next few years, with the incumbent placing greater emphasis in FttX networks.
  • Digital TV is widely available via satellite, digital terrestrial TV and broadband TV. The incumbent’s IPTV subscriber base has grown steadily in the wake of upgraded network capabilities, which has contributed to fewer customers to satellite services.
  • Competition is intensifying in the mobile market. Mobile number portability has grown rapidly following a reduction in fees. Mobile voice penetration is on a par with the EU average, while high-end mobile data services represent a considerable growth area for MNOs in coming years.
  • The regulator’s tender for the use of frequencies for LTE was suspended through lack of interest among operators. A renewed tender was expected by the end of 2013.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Macedonia – Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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