In the Middle East (14 countries covered), UAE are the main FTTH/B market, totalling more than 1 million Homes/Buildings Passed and nearly 63,000 subscribers. In other countries, FTTH/B deployments are very limited, and even municipalities, which initiated most of the FTTH/B projects in Europe, do not seem to get highly involved in deployments.
Even with new deployments in Eastern and Southern Europe, more mature countries still dominate the global European FTTH/B market. In countries such as Sweden, rollouts are still engaged even if on a smaller scale. The main issue now is really to convince end users to subscribe to services based on FTTH/B networks. At end 2009, 18 European countries are in the Global Ranking, which is the proof that commercial effort is on-going, but still has to be enhanced.
Regarding Middle East, the FTTH/B market is still in its infancy. Several announcements have been made but have to be concretised. Contrary to Northern Europe, where first deployments were engaged by municipalities and/or power companies, rollouts in Middle East will more probably be initiated by incumbents and private players, among which Real Estate Owners which will rapidly find a high interest in Fiber as value-added for their new housing programs.
European FTTH/B market at end 2009
As in previous years, IDATE has been commissioned by the FTTH Council Europe to provide an overview of the status of FTTH rollouts across Europe at the end of 2009. To date, IDATE has identified 249 FTTH/B projects in Europe, of which 136 are new initiatives since June 2005.
Municipalities and utilities are still the main category of players involved in FTTH/B deployments in Europe as they represent 55.7% of total number of projects. Nevertheless, they are still giving ground to alternative players which, even if they only represent 28.7% of total number of projects, reach 74% of FTTH/B Homes/Buildings Passed.
In terms of subscribers, alternative operators still dominate the market. Those which were involved first in FTTH/B deployments represent the most important customer base: all together, FastWeb (Italy), B2 (Sweden), Illiad/Free, Numericable & SFR (France), Orange Slovensko (Slovakia) and T2 (Slovenia) at the end of 2009 totalled 841,500 subscribers, or around 24% of Europe’s FTTH/B subscriber base (including Russia). However, this figure is lower than a year ago. This is mainly due to the involvement of incumbents which have been deploying largely in 2009 after months (and sometimes years) of expectation for regulation clarification.
• New FTTH/B markets, mainly in Eastern Europe, are very dynamic. Countries such as Lithuania, Estonia and Czech Republic are among the most dynamic in terms of new FTTH/B subscribers during second half 2009.
• Sweden, third country in terms of number of new subscribers between June and December 2009, is still a very dynamic market where local and national players continue to convince end users to subscribe to services based on FTTH/B architecture. On the other hand, the coverage is still increasing, and the consequence it a lower penetration rate in the country compared to end 2008.
• At end 2009, 4 countries have entered the Global Ranking, meaning that more than 1% of households have subscribed to a FTTH/B service: France, Czech Republic, Portugal and Bulgaria.
• The majority of subscribers (around 67% of FTTH/B subscribers at end 2009) is concentrated in 7 countries in Western and Northern Europe: Sweden, Italy, France, Norway, The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany
Excluding Russia, which leads the FTTH/B market in terms of subscribers and Homes/Buildings Passed due to its specific demography, France is still ahead of all other European countries at the end of 2009. But other countries have shown a strong growth and are now positioned among the 10 leaders in terms of number of Homes/Buildings Passed. This is the case for Portugal, Bulgaria and Lithuania which are respectively n° 4, 5 and 6 at end 2009.
Scandinavian countries, and notably Sweden and Norway, still lead the way in Europe in terms of penetration rate with 41.4% and 64.9%, respectively. However, those rates have slightly decreased between end 2008 and end 2009: this signifies that deployments are still engaged and that the coverage, even in those advanced countries, has not reached maturity yet.
Regarding technology deployed, Ethernet is still the first choice of players and represents 84% of total FTTH/B rollouts at end 2009.
The main change during 2009 concerns the architecture deployed as at end 2009, FTTB represents 58% of rollouts compared to 47% a year ago. This is further proof of the fact that players often opt for FTTB to avoid the issues involved in installing fibre on private properties, and especially MDUs (negotiation with landlords).
Middle East FTTH/B market at end 2009
As part of its inventory, IDATE also examined the status of FTTH in Middle East at the end of 2009. With the exception of UAE, there have been very few FTTH/B deployments in Middle East up until now. Some players have announced and/or have begun FTTH/B rollouts in major cities, but coverage and take-up levels are not yet significant.
The key driver for FTTH/B deployments in the region is massive new housing programs. Alternative operators are more involved in FTTH/B deployments than other categories of players, however, incumbents are dominating the market as they represent more than 60% of FTTH/B Homes/Buildings Passed at end 2009.