In a rare announcement of its subscriber figures, Romania’s leading fixed broadband provider RCS&RDS (Digi) has disclosed that it has reached two million active fixed internet connections in the consumer and business segments, alongside 1.4 million fixed telephony lines in service, 2.7 million cable TV customers and 700,000 satellite TV subscriptions. The broadband user figures put fibre-based RCS&RDS further ahead of nearest rival Telekom Romania than previous estimates indicated; RCS&RDS last released a broadband total for end-June 2013 of 1.63 million, meaning it has added at least a net 370,000 high speed lines since, giving it a lead of around 800,000 users compared to Telekom.
Vice president at RCS&RDS, Valentin Popoviciu, gave a press conference in Bucharest yesterday (reported by Romanian web journal Economica.net) in which he also claimed that the quadruple-play group’s Digi Mobil-branded 3G/4G mobile service has reached roughly 25% of Romania’s monthly contract subscriber market which he estimated at 7.8 million, giving Digi around two million individual post-paid mobile customers. Furthermore, in terms of Digi Mobil SIM cards active on the network, including data-only SIMs for USB modems and tablets, the company now claims a total of 2.4 million mobile broadband connections, according to its own figures.
According to statistics from telecoms regulator ANCOM, quoted by Romanian business daily Ziarul Financiar (ZF), RCS&RDS – which last reported a mobile subscriber figure of 1.13 million at end-June 2013 – has since that date to the end of March 2016 ported 660,000 numbers onto its network from the networks of larger cellular rivals Orange, Vodafone and Telekom, making it the biggest winner in mobile number portability (MNP).
Over 99% of individual Digi Mobil voice/data users are post-paid, with subscriptions starting at just EUR1.94 (USD2.19) per month (including VAT), whilst Mr Popoviciu disclosed that over half (one million) of Digi’s contract customers subscribe to its ‘Optim Unlimited’ package; TeleGeography notes that in mid-2015 the company reduced the monthly tariff for Optim Unlimited to EUR6 from the previous EUR10 for non-customers of RCS&RDS fixed/TV services, and to EUR5 from EUR7 for existing subscribers to fixed or TV services. Depending on the chosen package, users get unlimited voice minutes to RCS&RDS fixed and mobile numbers plus other national/international networks, hundreds of SMS, and monthly mobile data quotas of up to 5GB on the 3G network and up to 30GB on the 4G network. The company claimed in its press conference that the average data traffic of a Digi Mobil user is almost three times higher than the Romanian market average. Monthly mobile internet/data traffic reached 2.8 million GB while the total monthly fixed network internet/data traffic reached 204 million GB.
Stepping up its aggressive pricing campaign yet further, RCS&RDS has also announced that beginning this week it is offering users who port their number to the Digi network a 50% discount on advanced smartphone purchases. Popoviciu went on to say that mobile data services are the company’s largest single area of focus, having launched a 4G LTE network in October 2015 alongside its expanding 3G network. Major investment in 4G is planned, including the launch of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), the VP indicated, whilst announcing a target of 98% population coverage of both 3G and 4G in 2019.
In other points from the press conference, Popoviciu stated that the remaining 700,000 satellite TV customer base would not be developed further, as the company preferred to focus on fibre-based services. Similarly, he said that the 1.4 million fixed telephony subscriber base – which slipped from its last-reported total of 1.54 million at mid-2013, ‘will be gradually substituted by mobile telephony’, in keeping with trends across Europe.