According to business daily Ziarul Financiar (ZF), Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS) is in the process of expanding its cable network to Dragasani, a municipality which is situated in Valcea County; the area is home to approximately 22,000 inhabitants. ZF reports that work has already commenced on the infrastructure rollout, although no date has been set for the commercial launch. According to ZF, neither of RCS&RDS’ chief rivals – UPC Romania and RomTelecom – presently offer services in Dragasani, meaning that it will be going head-to-head with Akta, a cableco owned by US investment fund AIG. According to promotional literature distributed in Dragasani, RCS&RDS intends to undercut its established rival, offering customers a competitively-priced double-play package comprising fixed line telephony and broadband with download speeds of up to 20Mbps. The bundled services will cost RON40 (USD13.3) per month; in contrast, Akta charges RON53 per month for a 20Mbps broadband connection. RCS&RDS has committed itself to exploring fresh market opportunities during 2011, and in January the cableco acquired a new subsidiary in the form of Teleson, which is based in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at end-December 2010 RCS&RDS was Romania’s second largest broadband provider by subscribers, with a 24.2% market share, narrowly behind fixed line incumbent RomTelecom (30.3%). In February 2011 it was reported that RCS&RDS was close to acquiring cableco UPC Romania from US group Liberty Global Inc (LGI); a price-tag of around USD300 million was mooted. At end-2010 UPC Romania was the third-placed broadband provider by subscribers with a 7.7% market share. If the acquisition goes through as planned, RCS&RDS will see its enlarged subscriber base narrowly overtake market leader RomTelecom.