Internet broadband services were initiated in Albania only in 2005, and growth has been slow since then. Nevertheless, the information and communication technology sector has dramatically grown over the past few years. The Albanian Government and regulators have paved the way for new-generation mobile communications.
The Internet penetration rate reached only 73.5% by the end of 2018, a low percentage for European standards. The low fixed-line penetration has stymied the development of the broadband market yet resulted in the very rapid adoption of mobile phones as the preferred means of telecom services. Teledensity continues to decline due to heavy use of mobile-cellular telephone services; mobile-cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective, reaching 115% for mobile-cellular devices (2019).
Albania’s telecom market has potential for further development. Although the penetration rates in the fixed-line and broadband sectors remains low by European standards, the use of mobile phones is widespread in the country, partly compensating a deficient fixed-line infrastructure. The telecoms sector has greatly benefited from closer ties to the European Union in recent years due to more strict regulations and injection of EU funds to modernize infrastructure. Three companies struggle to win market share but the incumbent Albtelecom is still the dominant player. The Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) is the regulatory body in the field of electronic communications and postal service, which supervises the regulatory framework defined by the law on electronic communications.
Since 2014, Albania’s economy has steadily improved and economic growth reached 3.8% in 2017. However, close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of possible debt crises and weak growth in the euro zone. Complex tax codes and licensing requirements, a weak judicial system, endemic corruption, poor enforcement of contracts and property issues, and antiquated infrastructure contribute to Albania’s poor business environment making attracting foreign investment difficult. Since 2015, Albania has launched an ambitious program to increase tax compliance and bring more businesses into the formal economy.
Albania’s electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. However, the government has recently taken steps to stem non-technical losses and has begun to upgrade the distribution grid. Better enforcement of electricity contracts has improved the financial viability of the sector, decreasing its reliance on budget support. Also, with help from international donors, the government is taking steps to improve the poor road and rail networks, a long standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
ALBtelecom is an experienced Albanian company. It was founded in 1912. With a clear, consistent, and distinct identity in all points of contact, the company offers the latest technology and high-end experience in a wide range of communication services, whether it be internet, mobile, landline, xDSL, IPTV, Wi-Fi, Cloud as well as the best “Fiber to the Home” services in Albania. Moreover, as one of the largest providers of telecommunications services in the country, it has an extensive fiber optic network connecting 90% of municipalities.
RELEVANT INTERNET EXCHANGE POINTS
* Albania Internet Exchange Point