The Bulgarian telecommunication s market was fully liberalized a t the beginning of 2003 . At present, a great number of telecommunications companies provide telecommunications services – fixed and mobile telephony, Internet, cable TV, broadcast radio and TV with regional and national coverage, etc.
Bulgarian Telecommunications Company AD (BTC) is the main telecommunications operator in Bulgaria. It has developed a telecommunications network covering the whole country and despite the liberalization of the market it is still the dominant operator for fixed telephony.
Mobile telephony is provided by three operators.
In 2004 on the Bulgarian market was introduced the so called triple play service, which provides access to cable television, fixed voice telephone service and high-speed Internet through one cable.
The Internet access by cable is very popular in the country . The building up of small district LAN networks, which provide Internet to several hundred users in the relevant district , is one trend of the Internet market. The services for Internet access through a LAN network are preferred by the users because of the fast speed access to local servers with films, music, software and other diversified information. At the same time the offers of LAN Internet providers do not offer sufficiently fast speed to the international Internet space .
A great part of the LAN networks offer unlimited monthly access to Internet at a rental charge of BGN 20-25 per month, inclusive of VAT for residential users and about BGN 60 per month, inclusive of VAT for business subscribers. These prices refer to services with unguaranteed speed – 256-512 KB/s to the Bulgarian space and about 16-32 KB/s to the international space.
Residental customers looking for Internet access have choice of providers who offer different types of Internet access – dial-up, ADSL, cable, etc.
Internet cafes may be find eazily even in the very small cities.
The Bulgarian postal communications are dominated by the main postal operator Bulgarian Posts Ltd. Subsequently, the p ostal codes of Bulgaria are a system of four-digit codes that identifies the individual post office or metropolitan area delivery station associated with every mailing address.
Bulgarian Posts Ltd. provide s postal service for the country and abroad through its postal network throughout the whole country . Bulgarian Posts Ltd. ensures a variety of postal services – including sending a letter, a parcel, sending money, etc. The courier services offer ed from Bulgarian Posts Ltd. have the following trade marks:
- Bulpost - provides delivery of correspondence, documents or goods within the next working day in the 129 settlements in Bulgaria, included in Bulpost network. The maximum weight of a Bulpost parcel is up to 20 kg. The Bulpost parcels could be handled and as insured value parcels and cash on delivery for that a supplementary price is paid.
- EMS or “International speeded-up mail” – provides delivery of correspondence, documents and goods within 2 – 5 working days to 81 countries . The parcels could contain: documents with maximum weight up to 2 kg or goods with maximum weight up to 20 kg . The dimensions of the EMS items should not exceed 1.5 m length and the sum of the girt of 3 m , measured not along the length of the item.
International parcels intended for addressees abroad are handed in the post office s of Bulgarian Posts Ltd. The parcels should not exceed 1.50 m for any dimension, nor 3m for the sum of the length and the biggest girt, not measured along the parcel. The maximum weight of the parcels for abroad is 31.5 kg.
There are several licensed postal operators working in the country for national and international postal services. The most important international courier services providers are:
Television and Radio
The regulation of the telecommunications activity of terrestrial broadcasting (radio and TV) is carried out by the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), and of the program contents – by the Council for Electronic Media (СЕМ).
There is a great number of local radio stations, and only 2 operators working under licenses with national coverage – the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) and Darik Radio. The Bulgarian National Radio broadcasts two 24-hour programs – “Horizont” and “Hristo Botev”, which have 100% coverage achieved by territory and population.
Since 2004 there are three terrestrial TV broadcasters with national coverage – the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), BALKAN News Corporation (BTV) and New Television. All of them have programs transmitted also by satellite.
Bulgaria has a liberalized CaTV (Cable television networks) market with about 500 cable operators all over the country. CaTV networks have already been built up in all towns, as well as in 32 % of the villages in Bulgaria, and reach more than half of the population. Among the leading companies on the CaTV market (in number of subscribers) are CableTel, ESTNET, and Centrum Group.