Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/13/2014 -- With organic growth in the mobile sector all but played out, Lithuanian operators are now focusing on improving their subscriber mixes in favour of more lucrative postpaid services. So far, they have reported mixed success and, although blended ARPUs declined at a slower rate in 2012, it was clear that increased data consumption was still insufficient to cushion the effects of declining voice usage and mobile termination rate cuts. That said, there was an uptick in data consumption in 2013 and a rise in the number of multi-product bundles, which bodes well for quad-play offerings should these emerge. As it is, we continue to forecast revenue, and therefore ARPU contraction, for the next three years. Operators will thus need to justify where and when they invest in next-generation networks, even after acquiring 800MHz spectrum in Q413.
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- Blended mobile ARPU continues to fall and will reach LTL14.9 by the end of 2013, a y-o-y decline of 5.7%. By 2017, ARPU will have fallen to LTL14.0 but will, at least, have stabilised after years of MTR cuts and price competition.
- The increased emphasis on postpaid subscriptions will begin to benefit 3G and 4G mobile service revenues. BMI forecasts 3G/4G subscriptions to grow from 1.801mn in 2013 to 2.135mn as new handsets and connected devices increasingly come with 3G/4G-enabled.
- At the same time, demand for traditional fixed broadband connections (principally fibre and fixed wireless connections) will continue trending upwards, helping total broadband subscriptions to rise from 1.132mn in 2013 to 1.375mn by 2017.
Key Trends & Developments
Omnitel, Bit? and Tele2 all secured digital dividend spectrum in the 800MHz band in October 2013, adding to the 2.5/2.6GHz spectrum they acquired at auction in March 2012. Market leader Omnitel is well ahead of its peers in the 4G race, having begun offering 4G at 1800MHz some time earlier. Tele2 has also made rapid strides with its 4G LTE service, launching in March 2013. Bit? has yet to say how or when it will launch its 4G services, although it will - like its peers - use the 800MHz band to target rural and underserved areas.
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