Redeleanu: cable needs scale in CEE

Liberty Global’s priorities across the CEE region are “building scale, network expansion and pushing more innovation to the customer base”, according to Robert Redeleanu, CEO of UPC Romania and UPC Hungary.

Speaking to DTVE at the recent Cable Congress, he said that this means pushing Liberty’s advanced Connect box router out to more subscribers.

Redeleanu said Liberty had now built out its network to an additional half a million homes in CEE, including about 200,000 in Poland.

“We are not yet at optimal scale in Poland and that will be a big focus going forwards,” he said.

Redeleanu said that “market consolidation needs to happen” in Poland. This would give scale and enable efficiency and bring new products to market faster as well as incentivizing operators to invest more.

“Consoldiation needs to happen and hopefully will happen in Poland,” he said, adding that the definitiions created by regulators are sometimes “pretty narrow’ which can create impediments. “However, we are looking at the regulations positively. They need to play their role in enabling the market to develop naturally.”

Redeleanu said that Liberty was “subscale in most CEE markets currently”, typically holding a share of between 30-40% in these markets. He said that without scale operators cannot be competitive.

“Scale would help us launch complementary services looking at mobile especially,” he said. “It would help optimise our media spend or potentially bid for exclusive content rights which you can’t do unless you have good coverage of the country.”

Redeleanu said families in CEE are looking for always-on entertainment and ubiquitous connectivity and Liberty is well placed to offer this. “If you look at broadband speeds have gone up significantly. We sell a minimum 100Mbps and we have a high penetration of between 30-50% plus for our Connect box,” he said.

He said the Connect box offered a completely different Wi-Fi connectivity experience. MPS scores are two to three times higher for customer with Connect boxes, he said.

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