Macedonia’s mobile market is served by three operators, two of which benefit from the technical know-how and financial resources of their parent companies, Deutsche Telekom and Telekom Austria. The mobile data service market is expected to become increasingly important as new subscriber additions fade in the maturing mobile voice market. With WCDMA/HSPA networks in place, the focus for mobile data has shifted to mobile broadband offerings. As for broadband services, they are available via DSL, fibre, cable and wireless. The incumbent operator has launched IPTV services in competition with well-established cable TV operators. The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AVMU) is the regulator body for fair competition in the telecoms industry.
Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment, but has lagged the Balkan region in attracting foreign investment. Corruption and weak rule of law remain significant problems. Some businesses complain of opaque regulations and unequal enforcement of the law. Unemployment has remained consistently high at more than 30% since 2008, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be between 20% and 45% of GDP, which is not captured by official statistics. Macedonia’s economy is closely linked to Europe as a customer for exports and source of investment, and has suffered as a result of prolonged weakness in the euro zone. Macedonia maintained macroeconomic stability through the global financial crisis by conducting prudent monetary policy, which keeps the domestic currency pegged against the euro, and by limiting fiscal deficits. The government has been loosening fiscal policy, however, and the budget deficit was 4.2% of GDP in both 2013 and 2014. Public debt at the end of 2014 was 45.8%, which although low by regional comparison, is significant for a small economy.