Slovenia’s communications market is dominated by the fixed-line incumbent, Telekom Slovenije. The newly elected government confirmed in early 2015 that it would complete the privatisation of the company. In the overall telecom market, regulatory intervention has improved market conditions for competitors. The wholesale market is also improving, as evident by the increasing number of unbundled local loops. As the national regulator of the electronic communications market, the Agency for Communication Networks and Services of Slovenia (AKOS) is the responsible body for ex-ante (i.e. setting the rules of operation in advance) regulation in the area of telecommunications, based on the EU regulatory framework.
With excellent infrastructure, a well-educated work force, and a strategic location between the Balkans and Western Europe, Slovenia has one of the highest per capita GDPs in Central Europe, despite having suffered a protracted recession in 2008-2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. Slovenia became the first 2004 European Union entrant to adopt the euro (on 1 January 2007) and has experienced one of the most stable political transitions in Central and Southeastern Europe. However, long-delayed privatizations, particularly within Slovenia’s largely state-owned and increasingly indebted banking sector, have fueled investor concerns since 2012 that the country would need EU-IMF financial assistance. In 2013, the European Commission granted Slovenia permission to begin recapitalizing ailing lenders and transferring their nonperforming assets into a “bad bank” established to restore bank balance sheets. Export-led growth fueled by demand in larger European markets pushed GDP growth to 2.6% in 2014, while stubbornly-high unemployment fell slightly to 13%. A new government took office in September 2014, pledging to press ahead with commitments to privatize a select group of state-run companies, rationalize public spending, and further stabilize the banking sector.