Content and data remain key to the Finnish telecoms market's continued developments. Telecoms operators are seeing subscription growth rates slow down so must build revenues from existing subscribers rather than seek new ones. Pay-TV continues to support the broadband sector which already has high usage and limited, although continued, growth in the fixed services market. The threat of over-thetop services from third parties remains a key challenge to operator strategies and the ability to continue generating income from their networks. Despite these challenges, Finnish consumers have high spending ability and operators perform well in relation to other Western European markets.
- The launch of LTE services will help cater to the rising demand for 3G/4G services in Finland. BMI estimates that there will be 6.62mn 3G/4G subscribers in 2013 and expects the total to rise 23.91% by 2017 to 8.21mn. During this period the 3G/4G mobile penetration will rise from 67.7% to 81.7%.
- Finland's mobile market continues to exhibit modest growth, adding 29,000 new subscribers in Q313. Annual growth has fallen below 2% and BMI sees little prospect of this rising again. The most recent data from regulator FICORA cover the end of 2012; it is preliminary in nature and may therefore be restated in the near future once the figures have been verified. FICORA suggests that there were 9.310mn mobile subscribers in Finland at the end of H113, representing a slight decrease from 9.320mn at the end of 2012.
Key Trends & Developments
Plans for the sale of DNA came to nothing in the end as the company decided to remain under its existing ownership. The decision was announced in July 2013 but it was made clear that a sale would be considered if the market improves. It is unclear whether the local telephone companies that founded DNA would continue to exist after the sale; currently, they own around 33% of DNA's shares.
On October 30 the Finnish government awarded 800MHz spectrum to DNA Finland, TeliaSonera Finland and Elisa. The 20-year concessions, including six frequency ranges between 791MHz-821MHz and 832MHz-862MHz, have been sold for EUR108.01mn (US$148.5mn). The companies are under obligation to launch within two years of the beginning of licence period. However, the operations cannot start before January 1 2014. The operators are also required to cover 95% of the country's population in three years and 97-99% of population in five years.