The Estonian telecoms market is one of the most developed in Eastern Europe after being fully deregulated in 2001. This early liberalization with intense competition helped to get a well developed communications network. Foreign investment greatly improved the internet services available in the country as well as the telephone service. The telecommunication revenue as a percentage of GDP was of 5,2% in 2010, being the highest in the OECD region.
A joint initiative from several Estonian telecoms companies aim to develop the EstWIN plan, with the objective of developing a superfast broadband infrastructure by 2015 in two phases. First developing a new fiber optics network, and then upgrading the existing network to improve its quality and capacity. The objective is to connect every household and business to network capable of reaching 100Mb speeds.
Since 2008, The regulatory tasks of the electronic communications sector are now divided between two authorities: the Estonian Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet, ECA) and the Estonian Technical Surveillance Authority (Tehnilise Järelevalve Amet, ETSA). ECA is responsible for economic regulatory issues of non-competitive markets, whereas ETSA is responsible for issues of technical safety, use of radio frequencies, numbering and electronic communications networks.
Estonia is a member of the European Union since 2004 and the euro zone since 2011. It has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in the Baltic region. Estonia’s governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. The current government has followed sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and low public debt. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Estonia’s economy fell into recession in mid-2008, but the economy has recovered since then. Growth fell below 2% in 2014 as a consequence of weak EU and Russian growth. Estonia is challenged by a shortage of labor, both skilled and unskilled, and is now promoting immigration of highly qualified foreign workers.