This was an eventful year for the Romanian telecom market. The revenues kept a stable level compared to 2012 and telecom operators continued the strategy they had planned since the previous year, expanding 4G coverage into Bucharest and other key areas, as well as entering some new business areas. The strategy for the launch of the digital terrestrial television in Romania was approved last year and the licenses are to be allocated in 2014. Work on some key infrastructure projects also started in 2013.
By Otilia Haraga
- Total revenues from the supply of telecom networks and services summed up approximately EUR 3.3 billion (RON 14.83), up by 0.2 percent compared to 2011.
- The government approved the strategy regarding the transition to digital terrestrial television and the implementation of multimedia services at national level. Government decision 400 was published in the Official Gazette on July 3, 2013.
- Telecom operators in Romania have either launched or expanded the coverage of 4G services in Romania.
- The most popular five searches on Google this year are related to the results at the baccalaureate exam, late American actor Paul Walker, Black Friday in Romania, Suleyman the Magnificent series and the Lottery 6/49 results.
- Orange, Vodafone, Cosmote, RCS&RDS and 2K Telekom completed the payment of telecom licenses acquired in 2012. The total amount that was to be paid for the won licenses was EUR 682 million.
- Construction of the facility that will host the lasers and gamma beams begun in Magurele. The Romanian pillar, ELI-NP (Extreme Light Infrastructure-Nuclear Physics) will consist of the most powerful laser beams and the most advanced gamma beams in the world.
- YouTube officially launched YouTube Romania platform for Romanian content creators, broadcasters, advertising agencies and brands, which will post the most popular local videos.
- Romanian state selects Bulboaca si Asociatii as legal consultant in Romtelecom privatization. Acting as legal consultant for the Ministry of Information Society, it will offer assistance, consultancy and representation throughout the Romtelecom privatization process.
- The Romanian Ministry for Information Society has selected the consultant that will act on its behalf during the Romtelecom privatization process. The consultant will be a consortium made up from SSIF Swiss Capital S.A., UBS Limited, Musat și Asociații SPARL and BT Securities S.A. Also, Hogan Lovells, Transilvania Bank SA, KPMG Advisory SRL are subcontractors.
- Deutsche Telekom strengthened its position in the business-to-business segment by acquiring GTS Central Europe, for a total consideration of EUR 546 million. In Romania, GTS Telecom, part of GTS Central Europe, announced revenues of EUR 20 million in 2012.
- Telecom operators Vodafone and Orange reached an agreement to share their network infrastructure in Romania this summer. The agreement concerns sharing some of their physical sites’ infrastructure and was struck to enable the two operators to continue investing in technology updates with national coverage.
- Romanian telecom group RCS & RDS sold EUR 450 million (USD 618.8 million) in seven-year secured notes on foreign markets at a 7.5 percent yield.
- Telecom operator RCS&RDS sold its Slovak subsidiary, one of the leading satellite and cable operators in the country, to Slovak Telecom, a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary.
- Telecom operator RCS&RDS sold its Croatian subsidiary, which is one of the largest satellite operators in Croatia, to VipNet, a subsidiary of Telekom Austria.
- Cosmote Romania, the third largest telecom operator in Romania and a member of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), took out a syndicated loan worth EUR 225 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to support local investments.
- RCS&RDS took over Fastlink, a supplier of internet and telephony services to individual clients and businesses in Bucharest (in the neighborhoods of Cotroceni, Sebastian, Rahova, Berceni), Buzau and Pantelimon town.
- French company Eutelsat has launched a digital satellite TV service, in collaboration with Oradea-based operator Freesat. Freesat is based in Oradea and is owned by Cristian Belenes, 42 years old, and Comis, a company founded in 1992 in Oradea, which has a 5 percent stake.
- In June, telecom operator Orange Romania has officially launched its TV service in Romania, at prices up to EUR 12 (VAT included).
- Vodafone Romania announced the official inauguration of its Danubius Regional Network Operations Center which caters for several of the group’s divisions in Europe.
Predictions for 2014
- The telecom authority will allocate 5 national digital multiplexes in DVB-T2 standard, four national digital multiplexes in UHF (ultra-high frequency) band and one national digital multiplex in VHF band. By the end of April 2014, the procedure of allocating the multiplexes should be completed.Romania will switch off the analog terrestrial signal and will pass to digital terrestrial television on June 17, 2015.
- The Romanian telecom watchdog announced a new cut in mobile and fixed termination rates, after the end of the last round of public debates. Thus, fixed termination rates will be cut from 0,67 eurocents/minute to 0.14 eurocents/minute. Mobile termination rates will be cut from 3.07 eurocents/minute to 0.96 eurocents/minute.
- The Romanian Ministry for Information Society will organize on January 7, 2014, a public tender to attribute construction works of a national telecommunications network that covers poor areas of Romania in 35 counties. The RO-NET project will be financed with EU funds, being estimated at approximately EUR 38 million (RON 369.5 million, VAT included).
- Telecom operators are expected to continue making investments into increasing 4G coverage
- The privatization of TV, internet and telephony company Romtelecom is expected to be completed in 2014.
- The owners of a .ro domain will pay an annual registration tax and a renewal tax, according to a draft law.