RCS & RDS vying for supremacy on Bucharest cable TV segment

RCS&RDS, one of the largest telecom operators in Romania, is further pushing for supremacy on the largest local cable TV (CATV) market – Bucharest, seeking to increase its base of clients and ‘snatch’ subscribers from competitors UPC and Romtelecom.
The installation of the cable TV service was practically the first step taken by RCS&RDS in the attempt to lure the new users into also activating their Internet, landline and mobile telephony accounts.
After the polarization experienced by the cable market in 2005 around giant players RCS&RDS and UPC, followed by a stalemate and then a sliding trend, the two aforementioned companies started taking over smaller operators, the so called "neighborhood networks" included. Having exhausted most takeover possibilities, RCS& RDS switched to a direct ‘attack ‘on rival UPC, in an aggressive policy of doubling the latter’s cable infrastructure in Bucharest with a view to luring its subscribers. Romtelecom clients are also targeted.
Over 2.7 million of the total 3.55 million cable TV subscribers registered at the end of 2007 live in urban areas and 800,000 in rural areas. Bucharest subscribers are probably more than 1 million.
RCS&RDS is forcing growth on cable TV (and Internet) services because these are the source for most of the company’s revenues, but also because it is after a high number of users for its mobile telephony service, taking advantage of the fact that it is the only provider of a complete package of TV and telecom services.
RCS&RDS collected in 2007 $500 million in revenues, as to $297 million in 2006; the figures include RCS&RDS business in Romania and another five markets in the region, where the operator is present.
RCS&RDS is #1 in Romania on satellite television (1 million clients) and Internet (750,000 clients) services. It is also the second largest player for landline telephone services with over 1 million clients, and has also 800,000 subscribers for mobile phone services.

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