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Ekonomia

The International Telecommunications Union reveals what happened to the cost of communication for Albanians in 2023

The International Telecommunications Union reveals what happened to the cost of

The cost of communication services for Albanians increased last year. According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU) data, cited by the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP), indicators of the level of expenditure in relation to per capita income for four of the five ITU access and use baskets fixed and mobile network services for Albania result in growth in 2023 compared to 2022. They are also at a higher level than the world average for 2023.

For example, the mobile basket with low monthly consumption (70 minutes + 20 SMS + 500 MB) in Albania last year cost as much as 1.59% of gross monthly income per capita, from 1.45% the year before. The world average of this indicator is 1.35% of gross income per capita. While the mobile basket with high monthly consumption (140 minutes + 70 SMS + 2 GB) last year cost as much as 2.07% of gross monthly income per capita, from 1.45% that had been the year before. The world average of this indicator is 2% of gross income per capita.

According to AKEP, during the year 2023, it has been noticed that the two mobile operators have made changes in the rates or the amount of units (minutes, SMS or GB) included in the packages used by the ITU for comparison. These changes have resulted, among other things, in the reduction of the units (minutes, SMS or MB) included in the 30-day prepaid packages at the price of 600 Lek introduced in the period of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 by mobile operators, and used by ITU in the period 2021-2022 as a reference for low consumption mobile baskets.

However, AKEP notes that the ITU baskets contain the minimum quantities of communication units or the minimum speed for fixed broadband access (256 kbps), while the operators' packages that are offered on the market and used by the ITU for calculating costs may vary from year to year according to operators' policies and they usually contain more communication units / higher speed than the minimum reference values ??of the respective baskets.

The affordability objective of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable Internet Development requires that in 2025 the cost of broadband access is no more than 2% of gross income per capita. Despite the increase in 2023, AKEP notes that spending on all five ITU ICT baskets is at or near the 2% limit.

The mobile phone market in Albania has already returned to the same structure of 2008, with only two operators in the market. The entry into the market of the third operator Eagle Mobile (Albtelecom) and then of the fourth operator, Plus Communication, brought increased competition and significant reduction of communication fees. But these two operators never managed to be profitable.

In recent years, even the two largest mobile operators have reported a disappointing performance. These results can be explained by the decrease in income from termination, the high need for investments, significant depreciation expenses, etc. In these circumstances, operators are raising prices in an effort to improve the balance of their accounts. / Monitor