Bulgarian telecommunications Company BTC reports that it had added the city of Targovishte, in the northeast of the country, to its fiber optic network. At present more than 7,000 households in Targovishte have access to the BTC’s optical fiber network and their number is estimated to grow steadily with the planned expansion of BTC’s networks.
Vivacom is the brand name of “Bulgarian Telecommunications Company EAD” (“BTC”). BTC is the largest telecommunications company in Bulgaria and a former state-owned incumbent operator. Headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria BTC employs approx. 6,000 people and owns a mature distribution network with around 300 branded retail outlets and alternative sale points.
The company’s fibre optic network services include high-speed internet and IPTV. BTC’s fibre optic network covers 23 cities and towns in Bulgaria. On the mobile segment, BTC competes with the Bulgarian units of Norway’s Telenor and Telekom Austria, as well as with 4G operator Max.
Telecommunication market in Bulgaria has been affected by the country’s difficult macroeconomic climate, as well as relatively high unemployment and a shrinking population. These factors have contributed to steadily declining revenue across the sector since 2008. Consumers continue to migrate from fixed-line voice telephony to mobile and VoIP alternatives, while there is increasing pressure on SMS and MMS services from the growing use of alternative OTT messaging services. Mobile network operators are also faced with reduced roaming revenue following the decision by the European Commission, which became effective from June 2017, to bring international roaming rates in line with domestic rates. Nevertheless, there are considerable opportunities for telcos to develop popular bundled packages.
The telecom sector has nevertheless benefitted from Bulgaria’s adoption of EU regulatory measures, which has encouraged investment in the sector from other telcos as well as private equity firms. The incumbent Vivacom has been privatised, and the government no longer holds the ‘golden share’ which had enabled it to veto certain key decisions. Although the liberalised market has attracted new market entrants, Vivacom remains the dominant player.
Vivacom is a fully integrated operator, providing mobile, fixed voice, fixed broadband and pay-TV (both DTH and IPTV) services on a nationwide scale to both residential and business customers. The fixed-line services are provided through copper-based and fiber network footprint, while the mobile services are based on GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA+/LTE technologies.