Romania’s position as one of the most competitive electronic communications markets in the CEE region is stronger than ever.
Just in the last few days, we have seen UPC, and then RCS&RDS, launch internet products – in the latter instance offering download speeds of up to 1 Gbps – that most of us as consumers can still only dream of.
At the same time, Romtelecom, their closest rival, has said that it is accelerating investment in its fibre infrastructure and will gradually start increasing internet access speeds from early 2014.
This year we have already seen considerable activity in the DTH sector, with the launch of no fewer than two new platforms. As a result, the country is again served by five, the number having been previously reduced to three following two acquisitions by Romtelecom.
Orange TV, the most high profile of the newcomers, made its debut in June with a unique offer that included over 40 HD channels, 26 of which were not provided by its competitors.
Distributed by several transponders on Astra at 31.5 degrees East, it has since launched a mobile version (Orange TV Go) that can be viewed on smartphones and tablets, with either Android or iOS operating systems.
Although there are as yet no indications as to the take-up of Orange TV, it is undoubtedly a welcome addition to the market and will almost certainly have a positive impact.
On the down side, we have also recently seen another –and many would argue darker – side to the industry in Romania. It has come in the form of a very public dispute involving allegations of bribery related to contracts between RCS&RDS and the Antena Group, one of the country’s leading commercial broadcasters.
DNA, Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directive, has now made the unprecedented decision to take some of the most senior directors/owners of the Antena Group to court. Needless to say, this has caused a huge outcry and is likely to overshadow developments elsewhere in the industry for some time to come.
Which is unfortunate, as there is much that is positive to report about the Romanian market and its prospects for the future.