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The electronic communications market in Romania


General remarks

From the beginning of 2003, with the total liberalization of the electronic communication market, no specific licence per se is necessary to provide any electronic communication services. A simple notification to ANRC (National Regulatory Authority for Communications) is sufficient. By the middle of 2004, 2032 companies had registered notifications at ANRC in order to operate in accordance with the General Authorization. Among these, 1148 are now authorized to provide electronic communication networks and services. 191 companies are authorized to provide telephonic services, 425 data transmission services and 475 Internet access. However, not all of these are offering services on a commercial basis. (see updated situation at http://www.anrc.ro/en/situatii.htm).
49 Telephony Operators received Numbering Resources from ANRC.

The turnover of the communications services and public networks providers who notified to ANRC the beginning of their activity until the end of March exceeds Euro1.8 billion. 

A. Fixed line services. 

At the end of 2003, the penetration rate was around 20% at the national level. Around 71 % of the lines are digital. According to MCTI, around 58.1% of the households had a fixed connection by the end of 2003. The fixed connections are mainly used for local voice traffic. Roughly 55% of the total number of calls are such calls and 20% being long distance calls. 

RomTelecom, had a monopoly for the provision of fixed telephony until January the 1st 2003, at which date the market was entirely opened to competition in accordance with the latest EU legislation. OTE has 53% of the shares in RomTelecom, the remaining part being owned by the Romanian State.

After 1 January 2003, new companies started to provide fixed telephony services the 2 biggest being the 2 major CATV operators.

Astral launched its fixed telephony services Astral Telefix on 3rd December 2003, being the first alternative fixed telephony operator that signed interconnection agreements with RomTelecom and with the GSM operators Connex and Orange . See their offer at http://www.astral.ro/telefonie/abonamente_si_tarife.html 

RCS&RDS group launched its fixed telephony services RDS.TEL on 6 April 2004. See the offer at http://www.rdsnet.ro/solutii/telefonie.htm 

Other companies that offer fixed telephony services are Atlas Telecom or SNR . The new operators target primarily business users with large national and international traffic. Further companies are expected to enter the market this year, such as PostTelecom, Teletrans, Telecommunicatii CFR and PCNET.

17 interconnection agreements were signed with RomTelecom as of 1 May 2004. (for an updated list see http://www.anrc.ro/en/interconectare_acorduri.htm

A large number of new companies entered the market to provide specifically international calls through prepaid cards, such as : 

PCNET
Astral
SNR
GLOBTEL Internet
 

B. Mobile Telephony 

In April 1997 the GSM services were launched in Romania through Connex the brand name of Mobifon - and by Orange, previously called Dialog operated by MobilRom. These two companies have rapidly development a rapidly expanding market. Both GSM operators cover around 90% of the Romanian territory. Orange Romania reached about 3,611,000 clients at the end of the first quarter 2004, while Connex had 3,672,138 clients.

In May 2000 Cosmorom, owned entirely by RomTelecom, also introduced a GSM service and covered around 40% of the area. Cosmorom has today less than 100 000 subscribers. 

In the year 2000 Zapp was launched and offers services in 450 Mhz frequency band, using the CDMA technology. Zapp reached 100 000 customers in March 2003, and estimated to have 200 000 until the end of 2003. However, we have no recent figures to confirm that.

The total number of mobile users, 7 350 000 in April 2004, significantly exceeds the number of fixed line subscribers, the latter being around 4.3 million. 

C. Data transmission and Internet services 

The data transmission segment is extremely dynamic. At the end of 2000 there were operation licenses for 16 data transmission national operators and111 licenses were issued for the installation and operation of a digital point-multipoint data communication network. 

The development of data transmission is related to the introduction of new services such as access to Internet. In 2001 the Internet penetration in Romania was still low (about 9%), but it is rapidly growing. In 2003 the number of Internet users reached 16 % of the population. 7% of Romanians access the Internet at least once per week. 8% owns a Personal Computer. 

In the beginning of 2004 there were 60 000 registered .ro domain names. At the end of 2002, it is estimated that 10% of the total traffic over the fixed network was used for Internet connections

D. CATV market

There are 3 major companies covering 80% of the market with a 75% urban penetration. Over 900 small companies, with local or regional presence are also on the market. . The penetration of CATV at the end of 2003 was 55% of all the households with a total number of subscribers of 3,750,000. 

 

Legislation on IT&C 

For a complete list of Romanian regulations for the IT&C domain visit the web pages of National Regulatory Authority for Communications ( www.anrc.ro ) and  IT&C Ministry ( www.mcti.ro )

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