Telecommunication Dorado: Central and Eastern Europe
Strong growth, increased liberalization and new trends in technology have contributed to making the Central and Eastern European telecommunications markets very attractive for investors. The telecommunications industry in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) continues its remarkable growth; growth in both revenues and numbers of customers remains consistently higher than in Western markets. In 2004, the total telecom revenue in CEE increased at an average rate of approximately 8 percent compared to 3 percent in the original 15 EU countries (EU-15). The growth rates in the mobile communications industry are particularly impressive; mobile operators in CEE increased their customer base by 36 percent and revenues by 17 percent in 2004, compared to 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively, for mobile operators in the EU-15.
The EU entries of eight Central and Eastern European countries in 2004, as well as the preparations to the admission of Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria are important drivers for the telecommunication sector in the region due to the corresponding acceleration of liberalization. Aid money from the EU-structural funds is tied to the implementation of restructuring measures and, hence, positively influences the removal of barriers to competition and the overall development of local telecommunications infrastructure. In the more developed CEE-countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland, the liberalization process has been largely completed, while in the less developed markets it is currently being initiated.
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Central and Eastern European Perspectives: Yearbook 2005/2006, Article Telecommunication. Arthur D. Little and F.A.Z. Institut