ICT sector in Greece

An Expert's View about IT and Telecommunications in Greece

Posted on: 6 Feb 2013

The government’s digital strategy and the implementation of the EU supportive legal framework within Greek legislation resulted in significant progress in the Greek ICT market.

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 ICT sector in Greece The government’s digital strategy and the implementation of the EU supportive legal framework within Greek legislation resulted in significant progress in the Greek ICT market. Market overview The government’s digital strategy and the implementation of the EU supportive legal framework within Greek legislation resulted in significant progress in the Greek ICT market. Even though the IT market has been affected by the recession, opportunities have arisen due to the diversification of their product and services, and the use of innovative technologies and IT applications, funded by the EU and Greek Government. New initiatives were taken in order to extend connectivity and accelerate the uptake of new technologies, especially by SMEs and public administration: new actions under the ‘Digital Convergence’ programme targeting businesses, citizens and public administration, (Digi-retail and Digi-content) as well as e-security and e-government and cloud computing. Furthermore, there is the introduction of fibre optics (FTTH) and installation of terminals for high-speed internet connection throughout the country. Digital TV and e-commerce are the niche markets that have very recently started to develop and expected to present business opportunities. The innovative technologies sector and the mobile telecoms market in particular, is one of the few sectors which in spite of the recession is expanding further through investments, records growth and is a substantial contributor to the Greek economy. In fact, the mobile telephony sector ranks 3rd in Europe in terms of investment. The Greek privatisation plan started with the Greek Telecom Organisation (OTE) and will expand with the sales of mobile telephone licenses and digital dividend by 2013. As a result, the market will be open to new providers of telecom services and competition will improve supported by a stronger regulatory regime. The Doing Business Guide for Greece gives an overview of Greece’s economy, business culture, potential opportunities and an introduction to other relevant issues. Key opportunities Digital Convergence (NSRF 2007-2013) Within the framework of the Greek Government’s Digital Convergence plan, two venture capital programmes have been implemented to support the development of ICT companies. Digi-retail 201 new investment plans will be included in the ‘digi-retail’ action which is funded by the Operational Programme - ‘Digital Convergence’. The budget of new plans is 8,1m€ and their funding is 4,3m€. The action aims at enhancing the implementation of innovative technologies in the retail sector. The total budget for the digi-retail will be 100m€ for the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) – (2007 – 2013) in order to cover 50% of technological investments of a total 200m€. Mobile Applications / Mobile Telephone Licences The Greek mobile application sector is on the front line of technology and international expansion, as most of the 40 local companies currently developing smart phone applications are “extrovert” and multinational. Noteworthy is the fact that 2 of the 5 world’s largest mobile marketing companies are Greek. Furthermore, 32 of these companies belong to the Greek Association of Mobile Application Companies, employ more than 4,000 staff (out of which 25% are highly specialised), have a turnover of over 400 mil € and a presence in 40 countries. Internet Society & Broadband Penetration Broadband penetration in Greece is improving. Increasing broadband uptake and deployment of faster ADSL2+ networks has in turn supported the launch of broadband services such as broadband TV. Digital TV services are available via IPTV, satellite and Digital Terrestrial TV. An increase in Internet usage by the broader population is fostering an Internet society, with notable developments in the public administration (e-government) sector. Broadband represents the majority of Internet connections. OTE is the largest ISP due to its broadband subscriber base. One out of two households in Greece has access to internet from their home (50,2%) while 57,2% of the total households has a PC. 90,5% of the households that already have access to internet also have EU connection as well as 45,4% of the total households of Greece. Most internet users engage in looking for information on goods and services and reading online newspapers/ magazines. Downloading/listening to/watching music and/or films and seeking health information are also popular activities among Greek internet users. Internet Users The increasing trend of internet users in Greece have reached 51,7% in the first trimester of 2011 out which 26,4% through mobile phones. The remaining 23,6% used to internet to purchase goods online. For the last 5 years, there has been an increase for PC users (35,1%) while the access to internet has increased as well (54,8%). The connection to internet with mobiles is continuously rising as it has increased from 15,1% in the first trimester of 2010 to 26,4% in the first trimester of 2011. The smart phones are those that mostly connected to internet from 6,8% in the first trimester of 2009 to 10,7% in 2010 and 15.9% in 2011. The respective figures for laptop, notebook, netbook, tablet and etc was 6,6% in 2009, 5,7% in 2010 and 14,7% in 2011. The profile of users consist of men (52,4%) using internet more than woman (47,6%). E-Banking Banks in Greece are increasingly investing in e-banking systems and are endeavoring to turn their customers towards electronic banking services. Today, more than 1 million Greeks are active users of e-banking, while a total of 1 in 2 transactions are made electronically (including those at ATM machines). 40% of all bank transactions in Greece are through ATM machines, 51% of online customers choose their bank based on its e-banking website, and 1 in 2 customers judges a bank’s credibility by its e-banking services. E-Government Government initiatives for the Internet economy have been focused on providing services to citizens, businesses, and other government organisations online in the hope of capturing benefits such as improved efficiency, convenience, and better accessibility of public services. During the period April 2010 – March 2011 there was an increase by 45% in the electronic transactions of civilians with public services for their personal use in comparison to a year before (April 2009 – March 2010). The Ministry of Transport has announced the open bid for the eCall emergency service for road accidents. The Ministry had sign a MOU with the European Commission in order for Greece to participate in the eCall project. The European Commission started applying the programme in 2009. Greece is already implementing the future integration of eCall services at the Greek Telephone Emergency Call Centre. Cloud Computing The Special Secretariat which oversees the Digital Convergence operational programme is considering adopting the new international trend of cloud computing. The plan being supported by the Special Secretariat involves the creation of 3 basic data centres for the public sector which will be connected to a number of public organisations. Tenders and business opportunities There have been tenders announced for products and services such as the data network management and support services; mapping software development services; desktop computers; software infrastructure for G-Cloud; electronic equipment; the optical fibre network – Fibre to the home (FTTH) If you have any questions on the opportunities above, contact the UKTI contacts named in this report. Business opportunities aimed specifically at UK companies are added daily to UKTI’s website. These leads are sourced by our staff overseas in British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates, across all sectors and in over 100 markets. Getting into the market Supplies of products and services for major projects are purchased trough tenders; a UK company can bid independently or in a joint venture, preferably with some Greek partners to facilitate bureaucratic procedures and provide constant feedback from the market. UKTI’s team can advise on case by cases basis, since they are in close contact with government authorities and associations.
Posted: 06 February 2013

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