Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/15/2014 -- The Croatian market is well developed, with high penetration of traditional and data services, but it has managed to maintain one of the highest ARPU rates in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This has been helped by the proliferation of 3G services and smartphones devices, the latter of which account for about 30% of subscriptions. However, the market is not without its challenges as subscription acquisition opportunities are limited and there is downward pressure on ARPU from SMS IP substitution and price competition in a saturated market. Moves into 4G have been made by the two leading operators. However, the third largest, Tele2, has failed to acquire spectrum to support a launch. The company claims that the move to LTE is premature as 3G services have not yet matured. This paints a slightly bleaker picture of the market as 3G has been available for many years. While Tele2's decision may be correct in the short term, this could raise future problems for the company as it may find it difficult to compete.
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- The mobile market contracted for the third successive year in 2013, with subscriptions down 1.2% y-o-y to 4.94mn at YE13.
- Mobile ARPUs also declined in 2013, driven down by price competition, challenging economic conditions and the rising threat of voice and SMS IP substitution.
- The broadband market was the best performing market, with the total of fixed and dedicated mobile broadband subscriptions increasing 10.7% to 1.347mn at YE13, with penetration reaching 31.4%.
Competition in the wireline segment continues to intensify as VIPnet modernises and expands cable operator B.net - presenting a stronger challenge to incumbent operator T-HT. VIPnet acquired five regional operators in 2013, including OKI and KTS, satellite TV operator Digi TV and residential infrastructure assets from alternative telecoms operator Metronet Telekomunikacije. B.net also announced a major service upgrade in Q114, doubling the maximum download speed for its broadband services to 120Mbps for 300,000 household in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, Zadar, Velika Gorica, Solin and Zapresic. The combination of expanded footprint and higher capacity services is a benefit to consumers and is driving THT's own investment schedule, with the incumbent upgrading its own services in 15 main cities to FTTH, offering 100Mbps download services.
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