Croatia’s MNOs on cusp of expanding 5G with new spectrum

Croatia’s MNOs on cusp of expanding 5G with new spectrum

Although Croatia’s telecom market is dominated by the incumbent telco Hrvatski Telekom and the local units of United Group and Telekom Austria, there is effective competition from a number of smaller operators.

The regulator has helped promote competition via measures encouraging network access, as well as regional licencing. This has been seen most recently with two 5G licences having been reserved for regional rather than national operations.

The mobile market is served by three MNOs, supplemented by a number of MVNOs. The network operators have focused on improving ARPU by encouraging prepaid subscribers to migrate to postpaid plans, and on developing revenue from mobile data services. 5G services are widely available, though the sector will only show its full potential later in 2021 following the award of licences in several bands. Hitherto reserved for GSM, 3G and LTE use, this spectrum will contribute towards the government’s national broadband plan through to 2027, which is tied to the EC’s two allied projects aimed at providing gigabit connectivity by the end of 2025.

The broadband sector benefits from effective competition between the DSL and cable platforms, while there are also numerous fibre deployments in urban areas. The number of FttP subscribers broached 134,000 in March 2021.

This report provides an overview of Croatia’s fixed-line market, covering regulatory developments, infrastructure, and the financial and operating performance of the main operators. The report also covers the mobile voice and data markets, including statistics on service providers, and an assessment of network developments and deployed technologies. In addition, the report reviews the fixed and fixed wireless broadband segment, including statistics and subscriber forecasts.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure.

Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Regulator begins delayed multi-spectrum 5G auction;
  • United Group acquires majority stake in Optima Telekom from Hrvatski Telekom and Zagrebacka Banka;
  • Tele2 Croatia rebrands as Telemach Croatia;
  • A1 Croatia and Hrvatski Telekom deploy NB-IoT network;
  • Hrvatski Telekom expands the reach of its 5G network, reaching more than two million people in 76 cities by June 2021;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to June 2020, telcos' operating and financial data to Q2 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeComm, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:

Report title: Croatia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: August 2021

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Number of pages: 198

Companies mentioned in this report: Hrvatski Telekom (HT), Optima Telekom, Metronet, A1 Croatia (VIPnet), Tele2 Group, United Group, Telemach Croatia

Single User PDF Licence Price: US$1390

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