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Greece Communications


OTE (Hellenic Telecommunication Organisation), the former state monopoly, is the main player in fixed-line telephony. Since the liberalization of the telecommunications market, OTE has been slowly losing market share to alternative, competing telecom operators, such as Vivodi, Q-Telecom, Tellas and Forthnet. As of 2005, OTE's share on the market hovered around 76%.

The state radio and television broadcasting agency is ERT (Elliniki Radiofonia kai Tileorasi – Greek Radio & Television). The station owns 3 national television stations, ET-1, NET (Nea Elliniki Tileorasi) and ET-3 which is based out of Thessaloniki. In January 2006, ERT launched Digital Terrestrial Television with 3 channels. By March 2006, at least 65% of the Greek population will be able to view Digital TV for free with the use of set-top boxes. ERT also operates 7 national radio stations, including ERA 5, the Voice of Greece, which broadcasts internationally via shortwave. ERT is based in Athens.

The Greek incumbent telecoms operator, OTE, which was not the first operator to launch ADSL services in the country, has been accused of deliberately stalling ADSL deployment since 2001, in order to continue charging users with high per-minute dial-up charges for as long as possible (flat-rate dial-up connections do not exist in Greece). OTE has also been criticized for artificially limiting the number of packets passing per second through an ADSL line (probably unjustly, since ATM DSLAMs limit packets when they are congested, and no packet limitation appears in ΟΤΕ's brand new IP DSLAMs or in ones with enough bandwidth), thus making VoIP services over its broadband network unusable and unreliable.

Typical download/upload speeds available over OTE's network are 768/192, 1024/256, 2048/256, 4096/256 and 8192/384 kbit/s. The two later speeds were only added in May 2007, and are available to selected areas (only in Athens, Thessaloníki and few other cities at the moment), even though 4 Mbit/s do not require ADSL2+ infrastructure in order to work properly. In December 2007, OTE announced ADSL2+ Services, reaching 24/1, but this service is still limited to major cities.

Customers can either subscribe only for OTE's ADSL access service and then buy an ADSL subscription from an ISP separately, or choose their preferred ISP and buy both services bundled. The second option is much cheaper, but the first one offers the freedom of changing an ISP whenever one likes (even every 2 months, while a bundled package has usually a 6 or 12 months' minimum contract length).

In July 2007, OTE announced a combination package of both Internet Access and unlimited national calls. However, the speeds are lower than other ISPS' (especially the upload, max 384K), the prices are not competitive, and the unlimited calls are only within OTE's own telephony network (calls to other provider's numbers are charged).

Faster data rates and lower prices can be found thanks to Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) in which the main providers are Vivodi Telecom, Tellas, Hellas On Line, Forthnet, On Telecoms, Net One and Vodafone. Other smaller providers are Algonet and Telepassport.


Telephones - main lines in use:
6.185 million (2006)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
11.098 million (2006)

Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate, modern networks reach all areas; good mobile telephone and international service
domestic: microwave radio relay trunk system; extensive open-wire connections; submarine cable to off-shore islands
international: country code - 30; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Europe, Middle East, and Asia; a number of smaller submarine cables provide connectivity to various parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Cyprus; tropospheric scatter; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 26, FM 88, shortwave 4 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:
36 (plus 1,341 repeaters); also 2 stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
905,824 (2007)

Internet users:
2.048 million (2006)





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