The largest and most important provider of fixed-line telephony in Albania is Albtelecom, the former state-owned national operator. In recent years, however, a growing number of alternative providers have been established and licensed by the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (EPCA). As per data provided by EPCA, the alternative providers serve around 20 percent of subscribers at the end of the first half of 2011. On the other hand, the mobile telephony market is shared among three established market players, namely Vodafone Albania, Telekom Albania or the former Albanian Mobile Communication (AMC), and Eagle Mobile. Plus Communication is a defunct company. It was the fourth mobile operator by the number of subscribers. meanwhile, Telekom Albania was sold for Euro 50 million to Albania Telecom Invest AD in January 2019.
The two biggest operators Vodafone and Telekom represent significantly more than half of the market. Mobile telephony is becoming a competitive market with operators continually offering tariff reductions to pre-paid and post-paid customers and providing Internet services through mobile handsets and modem cards for PC to all customer segments. The Information and Communication Technology infrastructure in the country continues to be inadequate and underdeveloped. The demand increase has outpaced the modest progress in the telecommunications infrastructure leading to an increased necessity for further upgrades and improvements.
According to statistics from INSTAT, 82.2 percent of Albanian households have access to the internet. Meanwhile, data from internetworldstats.com confirm 1,400,000 Facebook users in Dec 31/18 and a 47.6% internet penetration rate.
The main operator is Albtelecom, which has been very active in the provision of Internet access recently. Other major players are Tring, Abcom, Digicom, and Abissnet.
The Albanian government has placed a special focus on the development of the telecommunications sector and related infrastructure. In this regard, considerable progress has been made in recent years regarding e-government, the creation of online services that are conducive to business activities and the introduction of reforms to improve the regulatory regime. Areas for further development encompass new technologies such as 3G mobile, DSL, cable TV, and WiMax. At the end of 2010, Vodafone Albania was the first company to offer 3G mobile service to its clients after being granted an exclusive license by the EPCA, followed by AMC in September 2011.
Photo credits: Pixabay