Iceland begins close-down of the PSTN
Iceland has one of the smallest yet most progressive telecom markets in Europe.
The country in 2020 became the top in Europe for fibre penetration. It aims to provide a fixed broadband service of at least 100Mb/s to 99.9% of the population by the end of 2021, an ambitious target by international standards and one which it is likely to achieve given the progress which operators have made in extending the reach of fibre networks.
There is effective competition in the mobile and broadband markets, with a number of players having emerged to challenge the dominance of the two leading operators Síminn and Sn, which have interests across the telecom sectors. Sn was formerly Vodafone Iceland before being rebranded to reflect the company’s move into broadband and broadcasting following its December 2017 acquisition of most of the telecoms and media interests of 365 Media. The new entrant, Nova, has become the leading player in the mobile market and has quickly expanded its presence in the fixed-line segment, particularly in fibre.
The telecom market has shown some resilience in recent years following the significant economic downturn a decade ago, supported by continuing investment in mobile and fixed-line broadband infrastructure by operators and well as by the government’s Telecommunications Fund which is supporting Next Generation Access networks, particularly in rural areas.
BuddeComm notes that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the telecoms market. On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, has offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect has been a reduced (and sometimes negative) subscriber growth, which will continue into 2021.
Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.Key Developments:
Companies mentioned in this report:
- Iceland becomes top-ranked European country for FttP penetration;
- Sn signs sale and leaseback deal for its passive infrastructure;
- Síminn contracts Ericsson to build its 5G RAN, aiming for national 5G coverage by end-2022;
- Government adds ISK450 million to Telecommunications Fund for fibre network builds;
- Farice contracts builder for the IRIS submarine cable to Ireland;
- Síminn begins process to close down its PSTN;
- Sn extends 500Mb/s FttP service to northern areas of Iceland;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data to June 2020, operator data to Q1 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.
Sn (Vodafone Iceland), Síminn, Nova, Tal, 365 Media.