Lithuania has one of the more advanced telecoms markets in Europe, with a strong focus on fibre networks and effective regulatory measures to ensure competitor access to the incumbent’s networks. FttX has overtaken ADSL to become the most popular fixed-broadband access platform as a result of heavy investment in telecom infrastructure in the last decade. Nowadays, Lithuania has one of the highest FttP penetration rates in the world.
With an Internet penetration rate of 91% by the end of 2018, Lithuania is performing better than other countries in the Baltic region. TeliaSonera is the market leader and offers a comprehensive range of telecommunication services in Lithuania. Mobile services are marketed by the wholly-owned company Omnitel, and fixed network services are marketed by the incumbent TEO. The companies are both leaders in their respective markets.
Although there are a few alternative operators offering telecom services, the incumbent Telia Lithuania, which belongs to the Telia Sonera group, remains the dominant operator in the fixed-line and broadband sectors. The number of fixed-line voice subscribers keeps declining, due to the widespread process of fixed-to-mobile substitution. The cable broadband segment remains small while the DSL segment has recently started to decline as more and more subscribers are migrating to fibre networks. The focus among telcos as well as the government has been on investing in fibre, which now accounts for most new broadband connections.
Lithuania’s trade with the EU and CIS countries accounts for approximately 87.3% of total trade. Foreign investment and EU funding have aided in the transition from the former planned economy to a market economy. The three former Soviet Baltic republics were severely hit by the 2008-09 financial crisis, but Lithuania has rebounded and become one of the fastest growing economies in the EU. Lithuania joined the euro zone on 1 January 2015.
The country’s ongoing recovery hinges on improving the business environment, especially by liberalizing labor laws, and improving competitiveness and export growth, the latter hampered by economic slowdowns in the EU and Russia. In addition, a steady outflow of young and highly educated people is causing a shortage of skilled labor, which, combined with a rapidly aging population, could stress public finances and constrain long-term growth.
TEO, formerly Lietuvos Telekomas, is the Baltic’s oldest telecom company and has a dominant position in the fixed network market in Lithuania. The company offers a comprehensive range of fixed services and has a modern network, containing IP technology to a large extent. TEO is still the leading provider of internet and digital television services in its market. Since 1998, TEO Group is a part of TeliaSonera Group, which owns more than 88% of its shares and also provides telecommunication services in all the Nordic and Baltic countries.