OTE launches retail and wholesale VDSL in Greece

Economic background

At the end of 2012 the parliament passed an additional package of austerity measures needed to release an additional €31.5 billion in EU and IMF sponsored funds. The deal may see Greece’s debt cut to in coming years as lenders agreed to cut the interest rate on official loans, extend their maturity to 30 years and grant a 10-year interest repayment deferral. They also agreed to return €11 billion of profits accrued through the European Central Bank’s purchase of distressed Greek government bonds and to conduct a debt-buyback scheme. Yet new debt issued by the government in 2014/2015 depends on doubtful economic recovery, and this may oblige the government to require an additional €50 billion bailout after 2014. In addition, high unemployment and low tax receipts continue to exacerbate poor economic output.

Telecom market overview

The broadband market benefits from extensive infrastructure-based competition. The dominant DSL platform has contracted in recent years as consumers have migrated to FttH networks. This trend will become more pronounced in coming years, compounded by greater adoption of mobile broadband offerings as LTE networks depending on fibre backhaul take shape into 2013. Lower revenue from fixed and mobile telephony has been partly offset by increases from the CATV sector.

Mobile market

The mobile sector is now the largest comms market in terms of revenue. High penetration rates have focussed MNOs’ attentions to mobile data services. These are set to develop swiftly in 2013 following the recent auction of spectrum in the 2.6GHz band. LTE services will become a dominant feature of the mobile landscape, supported by operators’ existing experiences in other European markets.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2013

Sector

2010

2013

Subscribers by sector (thousand):
Fixed broadband

2.21

3.15

Mobile (SIM cards in service)

18.0

17.8

Mobile broadband

1.7

2.25

Fixed-line telephony

3.51

2.87

Penetration by sector:
Fixed broadband

20%

26%

Fixed-line telephony

46%

41%

Mobile SIM (population) 118% 116%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Market Highlights

  • GSM licences auctioned in 2012 generated much needed revenue for the government, and have enabled the MNOs to pursue mobile broadband options in their bid to increase revenue.
  • OTE’s suspended VDSL deployment was re-launched in late 2012 following the regulator’s decisions on access and wholesale pricing. The move has boosted the availability of higher broadband data speeds for consumers, so helping Greece maintain one of Europe’s fastest growth in broadband subscribers.
  • The government’s national strategy for fibre access networks is aimed at building a nationwide open access FttH network providing 40% geographic coverage by the end of 2015 at an estimated cost of €2.1 billion (mostly derived from the private sector). Delays have pushed back delivery to 2018, while the regulator has since facilitated negotiations between six telcos to develop a cheaper national FttB network.
  • New regulations for in-building wiring and cable infrastructure oblige all new building to be equipped with ducting systems to facilitate the installation of fibre cabling. The provisions encourage at least two fibers to be installed per apartment, thus allowing for two network competing providers, though this is not mandatory.

BuddeComm’s annual publication, Greece – Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in one of Europe’s more economically troubled countries. The report includes the regulator’s market data to the end of 2011, telcos’ financial and operating data to September 2012 and market developments to early 2013.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see:

Greece – Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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