Romania’s mobile broadband sector to benefit from released spectrum and refarming strategies

Mobile broadband in Romania has become a viable alternative to fixed broadband following substantial investments among operators in 3G and 4G technologies, despite lower transmission speeds than fixed-line broadband access platforms. This is partly because intense competition among mobile players has led to an increase in the amount of prepaid data bundled into flat rate pricing plans, as well as substantial falls in tariffs.

Orange was the first operator to embark on LTE, receiving a test LTE licence in late 2010 in the 2.5GHz-2.69GHz band, covering Bucharest. It was followed by Alcatel-Lucent which was also held an independent LTE trial (again in Bucharest) in early 2011.

The successful multi-band spectrum auction in late 2012 is transforming the country’s mobile broadband landscape. Five operators won 485MHz in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands, while the overall amount of spectrum made available for mobile voice and data services increased 77%. In addition, the auction raised some €682 million for the government, to be paid by mid-2013. The considerable increase in operators’ spectrum portfolios was crucial for them to continue meeting growing customer use of mobile data, and demand for mobile services.

In addition the regulator has published a draft decision aimed at allowing the refarming of the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for LTE and WiMAX, though in practice it is likely that all operators will choose the LTE platform – a common enough scenario which Vodafone Romania, Cosmote Romania and Orange Romania have adopted in their other markets.

Henry Lancaster
Senior Analyst

For more information see the updated report Romania – Digital Media and Broadband Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts

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