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Market Report, "Bulgaria Telecommunications Report Q1 2014", Published

New Fixed Networks market report from Business Monitor International: "Bulgaria Telecommunications Report Q1 2014"

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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/24/2013 -- The Bulgarian telecoms market has a mixed outlook, with a saturated mobile market and steep declines in ARPU set against rapid growth of data services and the opportunity for growth via bundled services. The pattern of slow subscription growth and price pressures in the mobile market is forecast to continue, driven by competition and regulatory policies such as MTR reduction. However, this trend will be less pronounced than in 2012, as operators face up to the reality of having to maintain margins. We remain upbeat about the broadband sector, which we expect to benefit from strong investments, next generation access networks and increasing take-up of internet-based services, such as IPTV.

Key data

- The mobile market contracted for a second successive quarter in Q213, a trend driven by subscription losses at market leader Mobitel. The Bulgarian mobile market is saturated, and BMI believes there are large numbers of inactive subscriptions.
- Mobile ARPU has fallen precipitously y-o-y to Q213, with the figures for Mobitel and Globul down 19.7% and 28.6% respectively. Price competition and cuts to mobile termination rates were the most important factors contributing to this sharp fall.
- European Commission data show the broadband market expanded rapidly in 2012, with growth driven by uptake of dedicated mobile broadband services, as well as higher speed fixed connections. Total subscriptions reached 2.222mn at end-2012, penetration of 30%.

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Key Trends And Developments

The latest data from the European Commission show fixed broadband penetration remains low in Bulgaria, but more positively the data also show the high penetration of high-speed services in the mix of subscriptions. Bulgaria had above average share of 10Mbps+ and 30-100Mbps services at end-2012, while next generation access technologies (FTTx, VDSL and DOCSIS3.0) accounted for a 49% share of total fixed broadband subscriptions. This development has been driven by competition from alternative providers as well as the incumbent Vivacom, which in July 2013 announced that 3mn households were able to access potential speeds of 2.5Gbps over its infrastructure. It has invested in the expansion of fibre infrastructure since the start of 2011, and by mid-2013 had covered most major cities, enabling high-speed broadband and pay-TV services. Currently it offers a special package for internet and TV (DUO: FiberNet + TV) at a price of BGN15.80 (US$10.7) a month for the entire period of the contract.

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