BMI View: Hungary's mobile market is mature, with opportunities for growth concentrated in encouraging subscribers to upgrade their handsets or move to faster data services. The market posted a contraction in Q312, the latest data available, and operators are focusing on generating revenues by attracting postpaid subscribers. The fixed-line sector has surprised many with its robustness: against the standard trend of mobile substitution ,the the number of fixed-line subscribers actually increased this quarter. While we do not forecast that this trend will repeat itself, it is indicative of the success of bundled packages and faster wireline broadband packages. The popularity of these products are bringing benefits to the fixed line sector, too, although this sector is facing caps on monthly subscription charges and a new utilities tax.
- The mobile sector posted net losses of 15,000 subscribers in Q312, with Vodafone posting the biggest reduction in its subscriber base: it had net losses of 16,000 subscribers.
- The NMHH reported that there were 1.944mn fixed broadband connections at the end of September 2012. Of these, 305,800 were FTTx, 864,000 cable and 774,000 xDSL.
- There were 1.965mn PSTN telephone connections in Hungary at the end of September 2012. This was in addition to 415,000 VoIP connections and 567,000 VoCATV connections.
Key Trends And Developments
New regulations mean that fixed-line operators will be unable to increase their monthly subscription charges by more than the previous year's annual inflation - in the case of 2013, operators cannot increase their subscription charges by more than 5.7%. Regulator NMHH has warned it will fine those operators that do not adhere to these rules. They apply only to the three largest operators - Magyar Telekom, Invitel and UPC Hungary.
Mobile operator T-Mobile announced in December 2012 that its 4G/LTE service had been extended to cover 99% of Budapest and 60 other towns and cities. It claims that 27% of the population now has access to 4G, high-speed mobile data services.
Uncertainty remains over the future of Hungary's would-be fourth mobile operator, state-owned MPVI. In January 2013, two senior board members resigned, while a September 2012 court ruling found that the frequency won by MPVI was null. A high court is reviewing the case, with its final decision expected in February 2013.