Telecommunications in Estonia

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The National Telecommunications act in the second period of Estonian independence granted a monopoly on international and local fixed line telephony to Estonian Telecom (Eesti Telecom). In the process of privatization, a concession was granted to liberalize mobile, CATV and packet-switched telecommunications; this concession was critical for developing a competitive market. Three licensed mobile operators encouraged one of the highest rates of mobile telephony penetration in the world. CATV licenses were granted at a local level, and while it was a more natural monopoly, pirate operators proliferated within populous cities in the 1990s.

Internet penetration blossomed. Beginning with a satellite link and widespread undersea leased line connectivity, Estonia connected with the rest of the world; the concession for packet communications, perhaps against the constraint of limited international telephony competition (with the global exceptions of callback, transit and re-file arbitrage) -- created conditions in which Skype was natively created.

With a population of about 1.3 million, Estonia had in 2012 about 2.07 million cellular telephones and 0.45 million fixed phones. In 2009 it had about 0.97 million internet users.

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