The strategy of RATEL is to encourage further investments and development of telecommunications market by fostering competition, cost-effectiveness and efficiency in the mobile communications, as well as to provide subscribers with fair and unbiased information about the quality of service in the mobile networks in the Republic of Serbia. Therefore, RATEL carried out the first extensive benchmarking tests of the three mobile network operators: Telekom Srbija, Telenor and Vip mobile.
The purpose of Mobile Network Benchmarking is to compare in an objective fashion the quality of mobile network services by measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which represent user experience of services offered by all mobile network operators. The benchmarking measurements were conducted in September and October 2017, and as of this year, it will be performed as RATEL’s regular activity. In the first half of 2017, RATEL conducted a public international tender for Mobile Network Benchmarking activity and awarded a contract to a consortium comprised of CRONY, a Serbian company specialized in the representation of foreign companies in Serbia and Systemics-PAB, a renowned services company from Poland.
Systemics-PAB is well-recognized company offering benchmarking services to regulatory authorities and network operators worldwide. They provide solutions and services to measure, monitor and analyse the quality of mobile and fixed networks, with the aim to enhance the end-user experience. The experience Systemics-PAB gained in more than 10 years of working in this area, has enabled them to develop effective techniques and methodologies for conducting the benchmark activities, and all their tests, measurements and processes overall are ISO 9001 certified, which ensures impartiality and reliability of the results.
The rating and benchmarking of mobile services is done by using Systemics-PAB own scoring methodology that allows for objective assessment of Quality of Service and user experience for each mobile network operator.
Benchmarking measurements covered 35 cities and 10,000 km of Serbian roads. During the campaign, over 6,000 voice calls and 100,000 data sessions were performed for each mobile network operator across all technologies (2G, 3G, 4G). These measurements included:
The whole benchmarking campaign was divided into phases as presented in Figure 1.
Fig.1 Benchmarking campaign phases
In parallel, a dedicated portal was designed and implemented to enable the broad public viewing of benchmarking results on RATEL’s web page.
In 2016, the largest share in total revenues of 59% in the Serbian electronic communications market, as in previous years, was achieved by providing mobile telephony services. (Source: An overview of the Telecom and Postal Services Market in the Republic of Serbia in 2016, RATEL).
The mobile market in Serbia, in terms of number of subscribers, is divided between three mobile network operators (MNO). Respective mobile subscribers’ shares are presented in Figure 2. Figure 3 presents the mobile market share in Serbia in terms of revenues generated by the operators.
Fig. 2 Mobile subscriber
Source: 2016 Market Overview, RATEL
Fig. 3. Mobile Market Value Share
Source: 2016 Market Overview, RATEL
The number of mobile subscribers in Serbia fluctuate around 9 million, which corresponds to 130% of SIM penetration. The voice users generated more than 4 billion minutes in the third quarter of 2017. Close to 70% of the voice traffic was on-net traffic. 6.3 million of subscribers were active mobile broadband subscribers generating over 22 million GB of data traffic in the Q3 2017. (Source: Q3 2017 market report for Serbia, RATEL)
With approximately 4.1 million subscribers, Telekom Srbija - MTS is the mobile network operator with the greatest number of subscribers in Serbia. It was founded in 1997, and started to provide mobile communications service in 1998. Telekom Srbija operates its 4G network at 800 MHz and 1800 MHz. Additionally, it operates a 3G network at 900 MHz and 2100 MHz and a 2G network at 900 MHz.
Telenor has been presented in Serbia since 2006, when they bought Mobi63, a former Mobtel that was founded in 1994. It has 2.7 million subscribers. Telenor operates its 4G network at 800 MHz and 1800 MHz. It operates its 3G network mainly at 900 MHz, with limited additional 2100 MHz coverage, and its 2G network at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz.
Vip mobile was established in 2006 and is part of Telekom Austria Group. It has around 2 million subscribers. Vip mobile offers 4G network at 800 MHz and 1800 MHz, 3G network at 2100 MHz and 2G network at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz.
Telekom Srbija has the largest number of locations with active base stations in Q3 2017 as presented in Figure 4. (Source: Quarterly overview of the operators – Q3 2017, RATEL)
Fig. 4. Total number of locations with active base stations, per operator, Q3 2017
The total number of active base stations per mobile operator until Q3 2017, is presented in Figure 5. (Source: An overview of the telecom market 2016, 2017, RATEL)
Fig. 5. Total number of active base stations per technology and mobile operator until Q3 2017