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Multimedia and on-line services
The recent surge of low-cost, fast, broadband Internet services has increased the demand for multimedia
services, including on-line games, movies, multimedia portals, and Internet TV and Radio broadcasting.
Several ISPs already provide on-line multimedia or games portals to their clients. For example, T-Com
provides Games portal and Slovanet provides GoFUN portal for their clients. U.S. companies have good
opportunities to offer local-language web portals with on-line games, movies, multimedia, Internet TV and
Radio broadcasting.

With the increased demand for on-line multimedia services, such as video-on-demand, gaming, and
downloading of music, the demand for high-speed access to the Internet will increase commensurately. As a
result, there are good opportunities for U.S. exporters of hardware and software that enable high-speed
access to the Internet. U.S. providers of fee-based on-line services should also see good opportunities in this,
despite that fact that Slovakia is still a relatively small market.

One other area of potential growth is in security and home monitoring/management on-line services such as
heating, air-conditioning, watering, for multi-family dwellings. U.S. companies that supply on-line building
management systems that facilitate entry control, reservation of common areas, e.g., pools, garages, parking
spaces, and utilities monitoring, may also benefit from investigating the possibilities in this market.

Internet shopping
Internet shopping is becoming popular in Slovakia. Prices are often 15 to 20% less than in stone shopping
malls and are creating a current annual growth rate of 12 % for Internet shopping. Slovakia’s banking sector
has implemented secure electronic payment systems, and it is common to pay for many types of goods and
services electronically. Individual consumers buy mostly computers, electronics, consumer products, and
gifts; and companies buy office supplies and transport services. Several popular shopping sites, like Mall or
Hej, testify to the fact that this segment offers a strong future for more service providers.

Triple Play service
Triple Play is a service that provides a high-speed Internet connection, television and telephone over a single
broadband connection. Orange launched their triple play service, Orange Homebox, on December 6, 2006.
After three weeks, Slovak Telekom, under its commercial name T-Com, introduced a similar service called
Magio that comes in two versions, the basic Start and the more advanced Classic. Both service providers
offer digital television and are reporting a growing demand.

Slovaks are especially interested in digital television because it has better image and sound quality and a
wider range of functions compared to the older analog and cable TV services. Clients can set up repeated
recordings of their favorite series, block unsuitable channels from children, pause and replay channels (shift
play) and use an electronic program guide. Digital TV also offers video-on-demand service, which lets consumers rent movies without leaving the house. Customers can choose a film on-screen and then watch it
at any time up to 24 hours after it is purchased. Customers pay from USD 0.8 to USD 5. However, the choice
of films is limited at the moment: Homebox currently offers only 36 films and Magio 80 films.

Orange's Homebox is expected to widen its digital TV offerings in the coming months. And it is not just the
digital TV services that will improve. Orange is planning to invest more than USD 41,500,000 to expand
coverage to about 200,000 households. Currently, only residents of Petržalka (part of Bratislava) and the
towns of Trnava and Piešany have access to Homebox. Magio is currently available in ten Slovak towns. In
Bratislava, it reaches 100,000 households. Even though the services provided by Magio and Homebox may
seem very similar, there is one significant difference: how the signal is delivered to the customer. While
Slovak Telecom uses copper cables, Orange uses fiber optics. For clients, that means they can download a
four-megabyte song in a couple of seconds.

UPC cable service was the first company to offer voice, data and Internet as separate packages through a
single connection, in September 2006, and they eventually merged all three services into a single Triple Play
package on April 2, 2007. However, UPC offers an analog television service, not a digital one, and it is only
available in Bratislava.

On the other hand, UPC’s Triple Play service is cheaper than other triple play services because customers
don't have to buy set-top boxes. Customers who are interested in the Triple Play service only need a modem
to have it installed. The price of a set-top-box starts at around USD 150.

There are also regional triple play providers - Micronet in Bratislava and Antik in Košice. However, the
competition in their markets is strong: Orange and T-Com are planning on upgrading their services.

While T-Com wants to enable chat or game playing in their television service, Orange is looking even further.
"We are just a step away from applications like video consultation with a doctor or e-learning through
television," Orange’s Corporate Affairs Manager Tóth said.

U.S. companies have a good opportunity to compete with the local triple play service providers because this
type of service was launched only one year ago. According to expert opinions, triple play will soon be the
fastest growing service for home clients.

Market Data
In 2006 the number of Internet subscribers reached almost the half of the total population in Slovakia.
Wireless mobile access now dominates, followed by ADSL connections. The number dial-up modem Internet
subscribers has been declining steadily over the past few years and the trend is likely to continue.
According to recent research, forty-two percent of the adult population uses Internet. That number in 2003
was twenty-five percent. Regular users of the Internet are mainly younger people with higher educational
levels and higher incomes living in large cities.

Best Prospects
The development of the market for fast-access Internet services depends partly on price levels for hardware
and software and partly on the perceived need for a fast-access option. In order to increase the penetration
of Internet users in Slovakia, the Government in 2006 partially subsidized the purchase of PCs for families
(approximately $ 300 per family), schools and institutions, including monthly fees for high-speed Internet
connections. These funds came from the State Budget.

Currently, the Ministry of Finance is preparing specifications for projects that will help to develop and increase
Internet penetration in Slovakia. Some examples might be: wireless Internet signal coverage in smaller towns,
villages or other populated regions; hot spots; education and training Centers; Internet coffees, etc. The
specifications will be set and approved by the end of 2007. Companies and/or Municipalities and NGOs will
be able to apply for funds after January 2008. The total funds available for increasing Internet penetration in
Slovakia are USD 192 million. The funds will be sourced from EU Structural Funds. Any U.S. company may
apply for these funds if they establish an NGO or create partnership with municipalities or other local NGOs.
Further details on the requirements should be available at The Ministry of Finance’s Informatization Society
web page in December 2007. This project, which will use EU structural funds, presently provides the best
export potential for U.S. companies in the Internet services sector.

The Government of Slovakia is also setting up an e-Government Public Information Portal to connect all
Governmental institutions to the Internet. The main aim of the e-Government Portal is to provide services to
the public in order to increase efficiency in public and state administration. U.S. companies have good
opportunities to provide Internet services, consultancy services or hardware for this project. For more
information please contact Informatization Society Section at the Slovak Ministry of Finance.

Key Suppliers
The biggest Internet Service Providers are T-Com (renamed Slovak Telecom), GTS Nextra, T-Mobile
Slovensko, Orange, Slovanet, Swan, eTel Slovensko, Dial Telecom, Energotel, Vnet, Wimax Telecom
Slovakia, Satro. Please visit the Slovak National Peering Center to view ISP providers and ISPs Data Traffic
Load.

The most common DSL connection type is ADSL, with an average speed 1,024 kbit/s (upload/download). The
maximum available speed is 12,288/512 kbit/s provided by T-Com. The most common mobile access connection is WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) with a speed of 384/64 kbit/s, followed by GPRS/EDGE 256/100 kbit/s and then Flash OFDM with the speed 2 Mbit/512 kbit/s and HDSPA with the speed 1,014/296 kbit/s. Please see upload/download speeds and prices at netmeter portal.

Prospective Buyers
All Internet Service Providers described above (“Key Suppliers”) would like to improve their services in order to
increase their ability to compete in the market. There are a number of opportunities for U.S. companies offering to ISPs: hardware, client billing solutions, Voice Over IP services, maintenance services, product and service
analyses, call center solutions, pre-paid services, etc.

Market Entry
Slovak companies and government institutions interested in purchasing Internet services or hardware in larger
quantities issue public tenders with technical specifications. Each public tender is published in daily newspapers and in a weekly magazine, Obchodny Vestnik, issued by the Public Procurement Office. An electronic copy of Obchodny Vestnik is available (in Slovak) at the Public Procurement Office web site. Please click on the “Vestnik” bar. U.S. companies interested in bidding should submit requested documents as soon as possible. On the due date, a procurement committee opens the offers. Each company that provided offers can observe the bid-opening process. The legislative framework for competition includes the act on Public Procurement Act. Other conditions for business are set forth in The Commercial Code. Slovak agencies increasingly post their tenders on websites, although they are not required to do so.

Market Issues & Obstacles
Foreign goods imported into Slovakia from non-EU countries are subject to customs inspection and imposition of customs duty, taxes, and import charges. Import and excise duties, as well as value-added taxes, are collected by The Customs Office The Customs Office after submission of a customs declaration for release of these goods into a free circulation regime. The customs authorities collect customs duties and are administrators of the Value Added Tax (VAT) for imports. The flat VAT rate is 19 percent.

The licensing system is Slovakia's primary non-tariff measure. The The Ministry of Economy is authorized to
issue import and export permits or licenses for sensitive goods such as encryption hardware, etc.

Internet users 700,000
Internet Users Rank 53
Internet Users Date of Information 2000
 Telephones - mobile cellular 736,662
Cell Phone Rank 51
Cell Phone Date of Information  April 1999
 Telephones - main lines in use 1,934,558
Telephone Rank 55
Telephones Date of Information 1998
GDP - real growth rate(%) 4
Growth Rank 207
Growth Date of Information  2002 est.
GDP - per capita $12,200
GDP/pc Rank 61
GDP/pc Date of Information  2002 est.
GDP $66,000,000,000
GDP Rank 62
GDP Date of Information  2002 est.
Population 5,430,033
Pop Rank 107
Pop Date of Information  July 2003 est.

Look what I found in beautiful downtown Bratislava, Slovakia (since sold I believe)


This site was last updated 6 March, 2009