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The mobile market grew by an impressive 10.2% in 2009, markedly improving on the 8.9% rise seen in 2008 despite the effects of the global recession. This suggests a degree of resilience to unfavourable economic winds, which may stand the country’s operators in good stead in 2010, but, with revenues already diminished as a result of lower roaming rates, operators may now be more reluctant to engage in prolonged pricing battles. Market saturation may also inhibit growth, though this cannot be guaranteed given Greek mobile users’ preferences for prepaid services. By 2014, we now expect there to be 24.17mn mobile subscribers in Greece, yielding a penetration rate of 212.2%, up from 185% in 2009.
The broadband market - which includes ‘traditional’ fixed connections such as ADSL as well as fibre and wireless connections - grew by just more than 19% in 2009, yielding a subscriber base of 2.18mn. As with mobile, this was a slightly stronger performance than that seen in 2008, despite the recession. The lack of verifiable data regarding mobile broadband usage means that we have not included subscribers to those services in these forecasts, but, if mobile data usage rates reported by the operators are anything to go by, mobile broadband was poised to become a driving force in the market at the time of writing. Of course, the latest economic crisis may now put paid to all of that, but, in the absence of any data negating our expectations, we envisage the market expanding by around 21% in 2010, enabling the penetration rate to rise to more than 23%. By the end of our forecast period in 2014, we anticipate the broadband penetration rate rising beyond 33%.
Greece remains in 11th position in the Business Environment Ratings for Western Europe this quarter, despite the gloomier economic outlook at the time the ratings were generated and the universal falls in mobile and broadband ARPUs. Its already comparatively poor Country Risk score is therefore set to plummet in our next quarterly update, which, along with Q110 results, ought to make for interesting reading.