Some of the biggest changes that have recently taken place in Romania’s telecom market have been on the M&A front.
They include the sale of Liberty Global’s UPC assets to Vodafone and the acquisition of Telekom Romania’s fixed line business (TKR) by Orange. With Deutsche Telekom and its subsidiary OTE keen to fully exit the country, Telekom Romania’s mobile operation may soon be added to the list, United Group being a possible buyer.
While the last couple of years have undoubtedly been challenging for the industry, it has continued to grow at an impressive rate. Figures just published by the regulator ANCOM show that revenues in the electronic communications sector increased by 2% in 2021. Indeed, they exceeded €3.5 billion and accounted for 1.45% of Romania’s GDP.
In 2021, mobile and fixed internet traffic grew by 32% and 16% respectively, while the total number of pay-TV subscribers, in what was already a saturated market, reached 7.8 million.
The most important trend in pay-TV was the ongoing shift from DTH to cable services. While the former saw their subscriber total slip by 17% to 1.5 million, the latter increased theirs by 6% to 6.2 million.
RCS&RDS, which is part of Digi Communications, remains the undisputed market leader in the pay-TV sector. It accounted for 65% of subscribers in 2021, followed by Orange (19%) and other providers (16%). More recent figures for Q1 this year, published by Digi, show that RCS&RDS had a total of 5,185,000 cable and DTH subscribers as of end of March, or 6.5% more than a year earlier.
We also know from Orange that its pay-TV subscriber total stood at 1.5 million in Q1, while Vodafone has not published figures for its TV business in Romania.
Looking at the bigger picture, Orange has certainly strengthened its position in the telecom market. According to ANCOM, it accounted for 40% of revenues in the electronic communications sector in 2021, boosted by its recent acquisition of TKR and its subsidiary NextGen Communications. Vodafone, on the other hand, claimed only 24% and RCS&RDS 22%.
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