Albanian mobile operators bid for 2.6GHz spectrum
Albania’s telecom market continues to have room for further development. Penetration in the fixed-line and broadband sectors remains very low by European standards, and there are opportunities for further investment in networks upgrades to help propel the country’s economic growth through digital offerings and IP-based technologies and services. On the other hand, poor fixed-line infrastructure has encouraged consumer use of mobile telephony, and now Albania boasts one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Europe.
The country has long sought accession to the European Union (EU) which has benefited its telecoms sector through closer scrutiny of its regulatory regime and through the injection of funding to help modernise infrastructure. Albania signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, which came into force in mid-2009. As part of the EU pre-accession process, Albania has received financial aid to build public institutions and improve cross-border co-operation under the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance funding mechanism. Since June 2014 Albania has been recognised as an official candidate for accession to the EU.
Albania’s economy has enjoyed strong growth in GDP throughout the GFC, albeit from a low base. It has weathered the economic impact resulting from the faltering economies of its main trading partners Italy and Greece. Further growth recovery was evident in 2014.
Future network development has been undertaken to support the growing popularity of broadband services: given the low broadband penetration level, Albania’s internet market offers considerable potential, which is in part being met by the two mobile network operators. This has gone far to alleviate poor connectivity in rural areas.
Albania’s mobile market has undergone rapid growth due to competition, with four operators including Vodafone, Eagle Mobile, Cosmote’s AMC and Plus Communication offering services. Operators are looking to mobile data applications and services to increase ARPU.
Key telecom penetration by service 2014 (e)
Sector | Penetration
Fixed-broadband | 7%
Fixed-line telephony | 9%
Mobile SIM | 175%
- AMC and Vodafone Albania bid for 2600MHz spectrum;
- Albtelecom’s share of the broadband market continues to be squeezed by competitors;
- The reduction in MTRs has reduced the cost of mobile services for consumers.
- Following market liberalisation in 2007, several alternative operators now offer services and the market’s growth potential has attracted international investment. The low fixed-line penetration has stymied the development of the broadband market yet resulted in the very rapid adoption of mobile phones as the preferred means of telecom services.
- Upgrades to the Bari-Durres Cable System, owned by Albtelecom and Telecom Italia Sparkle, from 2.5Gb/s to 20Gb/s will considerably boost Albania’s international connectivity and enable consumers to make greater use of IP-data and services.
- Most of Albtelecom’s DSL subscribers are serviced through an FttN network: regulatory changes are required to enable altnets to have access to this network, which would stimulate broadband connectivity in coming years.
- Eagle Mobile merged with Albtelecom in early 2013, enabling the operator to rationalise its fixed-line and mobile offerings.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications