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23 Jan 2018

CEE Telcos Continue to Seek Revenue Outside Their Core Business Area, While Ready to Pull Out of Unprofitable Endeavors, Says IDC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Prague – Due to the improved economic environment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), revenues that telecommunications operators in the region generate from sales of telecom services have started to grow again. In spite of this, telcos are expected to continue searching for new sources of revenue outside their core business area. Presently, almost all CEE incumbent telcos provide IT services such as datacenter services, cloud services, and security solutions. Incumbent operators in Croatia, Hungary, and Poland further act as distributors of gas and electricity. And the variety of non-telecom services offered by telecom operators continues to grow, as telcos add development of their own TV content, management of electric vehicle charging stations, and more to their service portfolios. Consequently, their non-core-business revenues will continue to increase throughout the 2017–2021 forecast period.

The latest research by International Data Corporation (IDC) indicated that the combined revenues from all non-telecommunications services (including equipment sales) constituted 15.0% of the total revenues reported by 11 surveyed CEE incumbent operators in 2016.

During the last two years, however, IDC has noted an important change: This strategy is no longer a one-way street. "Telcos are expanding operations outside their core business area and making additional investments into activities they find promising, but they are also pulling out of business endeavors that have not proved lucrative,” says Kresimir Alic, senior program manager at IDC. “The ability to dynamically pursue opportunities in any market often represents the difference between successful and unsuccessful telco operators.”

As in 2017, the growth of non-core business revenues among CEE telcos will again rise in 2018, mainly due to significant growth in the three major sections: energy services, ICT services, and terminal equipment sales. The retail electronics segment, on the other hand, will post a large decline as a result of Telekom Romania's decision to close its web mall. Growth rates will remain healthy in the medium-term, driven by stable demand for terminal equipment (smartphones) and a growing number of business endeavors by telcos in various non-telecom industries.

About the Research

In this IDC report, CEE Telcos Beyond Telecoms in 2017, we illuminate the recent changes in the business strategy of CEE telecommunications services operators — namely, the search for new revenue streams outside their core business area. This study is based on analyses of the revenues of telcos providing services in 11 CEE countries: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia. In addition to an overview of the current situation, this study provides a forecast of developments in this area until 2021.

This report is an update of the following studies:

  • The Era of Opportunism: CEE Operators Are Set to Challenge Their Luck Outside the Declining Telco Industry (IDC #CEMA21446, September 2014
  • The Era of Opportunism: 2015 Update (IDC #CEMA23269, September 2015)
  • Central and Eastern European Telcos — Beyond Telecommunications in 2016 (IDC #CEMA41614816, December 2016)

For more information about this research, please contact Kresimir Alic at:

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.


For more information, contact:

Kresimir Alic