Media & telecom

As one of the fastest growing regions in the world, the telecommuncations sector in the CEE is set to triple over the next five years. The 354 million mobile customers recorded in 2013 should increase by 18.9 million by 2018, while 73.4 per cent mobile penetration is expected to reach 76.7 per cent over the next four years. Mobile users are expected to shift to smartphone and tablet devices, with the number of sold devices to grow from 131 milllion in 2013 to 301 million in 2018.

In terms of high-speed broadband internet access, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Poland have the lowest penetration rates, while Estonia has already achieved basic broadband coverage throughout the country. Other governments across the CEE are implementing strategies and investments to develop the infrastructure to varying degrees with Latvia funding a project aimed at developing infrastructure in rural areas and Hungary adopting a government initiative to construct a national network. Slovenia will be implementing a financial framework to cover 90 per cent of the population with high speed access over the next six years, while ‘Digital Czech Republic v. 2.0’ is focussed on providing nation-wide coverage with at least 30 Mbps by 2020. Bulgaria’s main objective is in creating the necessary legal framework for developing connectivity to large, medium and remote settlements with a focus on provisions for rural areas.

E-commerce is by far the most popular in Poland with over 80 per cent of internet users accessing online shopping, while the number of devices connected to the internet is expected to increase from 99.6 million in 2013 to 178.4 million in 2018.