European telcos are strengthening their hold on their local Internet access markets, while improving their online services to become strong competitors in this field.
According to Datamonitor?s latest report - 'PTO Strategies for Consumer Interactive Services: Profiles of Key Industry Shapers' - European telcos control 34 per cent of the European Internet and online access market. The national market shares vary from two per cent for BT Internet in the UK to 55 per cent for T-Online from Germany?s Deutsche Telekom.
The level of Internet access varies from telco to telco. BT Internet, along with Skynet from Belgium?s Belgacom, and Telecom Italia?s TIN, offer basic services. However, Telefonica?s InfoVia is the only primary Internet service provider in Spain, and it is looking to build an exclusively Spanish language service in South America.
Datamonitor believes Telecom Finland, Sweden?s Telia, and KPN of the Netherlands, have ?excelled? in their Internet access provisions. Telecom Finland boasts almost half of the market in Finland, whereas KPN achieved its position through joint ventures and acquisitions.
There is also wide variation in the type of online content service by European PTOs. Telia is the most advanced, with its Passagen service, which offers Internet TV as well as a range of editorial content. Most companies provide chat forums and newsgroups, but only two provide Web TV services - Telia and Telecom Finland.
Broadband Internet access will help telcos increase their range of online services. Most have deployed or plan to invest in cable modems and ADSL for broadband access in the short to medium term. Telia, France Telecom and Telecom Finland have already installed cable modems, while ADSL roll-out by Telia and Telecom Finland is imminent.
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