BMI View: The fixed broadband sector continues to outperform the mobile and fixed telephony sectors as huge investments in fibre optic network deployments are matched by strong demand for high speed internet connectivity and convergence services. This trend will continue for ost of our forecast period to 2018, although this could be counterbalanced by mobile broadband services following the roll out of 4G LTE services by the country's two biggest mobile operators. The demand for data services bodes well for telecoms service providers in Moldova which are hard-pressed by the decline in basic voice service revenues.
The mobile market grew by 3.9% q-o-q in Q314 and 4.4% y-o-y at the end of the same period to partially offset the market contraction in FY13.
The fixed-line market was largely flat in 9M14, suggesting that the remarkable uptrend recorded in recent years may have reached its peak. The broadband market grew by 2.8% q-o-q in Q314 and an impressive 14.7% y-o-y at the end of the same period, driven by the mobile broadband and FTTx segments.
Mobile and fixed-line ARPU trended downwards in the 12 months to September 2014, while broadband ARPU trended upwards during the same period.
Moldova is in 28 th position, ahead of only Kosovo, in BMI's CEE Telecoms Risk/Reward Ratings table for Q115, scoring below the regional average on all four ratings categories and with the addition of five new countries for 2014 pushing it further down the ratings. The country's lowest scores were in the industry rewards and country rewards category, reflecting slow subscription growth and declining ARPUs, as well as a low rate of urbanisation and GDP per capita.
Moldtelecom has upgraded its transport network with 100Gbps technology across the country. The move raised the operator's bandwidth capacity by a factor of ten. The upgrade will boost the reliability and connectivity speeds of the operator's fixed broadband speeds, which are vital to mainting its leadership position in the market amid increasing competition from alternative service providers. Moldtelecom launched the service with a one month promotional offer, which provided 1Gbps downlink speeds for MDL119 (USD8.42) between September and November 2014.
ANRCETI awarded spectrum to the country's three mobile operators following an auction process at the end of July 2014 for the provision of mobile broadband services. The licence fees for these spectrum bands has been calculated by the Program of Radio Spectrum Management for 2013 - 2020 and, in total, the cost will be EUR62.5mn. Orange and Moldcell have positioned themselves to benefit from the migration to 4G; however, BMI is concerned that Unite will be left behind. Besides failing to acquire 800MHz spectrum in the latest auction, it did not acquire 4G spectrum in 2012 and has instead chosen to focus on improving and expanding its HSPA+ network.
In July 2014, ANRCETI revealed that 44,720 numbers have been ported since the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) and fixed number portability (FNP) services on July 1 2013 and August 1 2013 respectively. Of the total, 40,376 of the ported numbers were mobile numbers, while the remaining 4,344 were fixed. Moldcell attracted 24,812 of the ported mobile numbers, while Orange Moldova and Moldtelecom attracted 8,038 and 7,526 respectively. StarNet Solutions attracted 2,351 of the total ported fixed numbers, while 1,231 and 238 of the fixed numbers transferred their services to Orange Moldova and Arax-Impex respectively.