Kosovo boasts a high level of internet access, with an impressive 99.55% of the population connected to the digital realm. This widespread internet penetration spans both urban and rural areas, emphasising the nation's commitment to digital inclusion. Moreover, the distribution across age groups reflects a relatively balanced adoption of technology, with the 35-44 age group showing particular enthusiasm.
The online media space in Kosovo operates within a relatively unconstrained legal framework, fostering an environment conducive to freedom of expression. Unlike some nations with strict regulations on digital content, Kosovo has allowed online media outlets to flourish with minimal interference, further democratising the dissemination of information.
The Kosovo tech sector presents a significant influence on the media landscape. A staggering 91% of IT companies in the country actively engage in the global market, indicating their competitive prowess on the international stage. These companies contribute significantly to the media ecosystem by providing various services, including software development, data management, support centers, and consulting services. The Kosovar tech industry's success on a global scale bolsters the local media by offering essential technological infrastructure and solutions.
IPKO, Kujtesa, Artmotion, Telkos, Telekom Kosova are among the largest internet service providers, together controlling about 86% of the fixed broadband market measured by subscribers. The three largest operators—IPKO, Kujtesa, and Artmotion—each control more than 20% of the market. Incumbent operator TK controls about 8%. These companies are noticeably present in advertising on TV and online media in Kosovo.
Kosovo features two primary mobile network operators, both offering 3G and 4G networks mainly in urban areas and major transport routes. Presently, 3G coverage extends to 98% of the population. IPKO covers 87% of the territory with 4G, while Telekom Kosova (Vala brand) covers 85%. Given the market's size, introducing another national MNO is unlikely largely due to the fact that there is no regulation of the national mobile call origination market.
As of 2020, there were approximately 29,429 active landline numbers in Kosovo, according to the Agency for Electronic Communications.
In 2021, the Regulatory Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications (RAEPC) estimated that Kosovo had 383,868 fixed internet users and 1,777,859 mobile internet users. These estimates reflected penetration rates of 24.52% for fixed internet and 97.92% for mobile internet when accounting for overlapping connections. RAEPC's data also indicated comprehensive mobile coverage in inhabited areas and 94% coverage across Kosovo's entire territory.
Kosovo's telecommunications sector offers affordability and comparable voice service quality in comparison to regional providers. The market is primarily served by five key companies: IPKO, Kosovo Telecom (KT), ArtMotion, Kujtesa, and a branch of Serbia's MTS, collectively covering around 80% of Kosovo's telecommunications market. Additionally, KT, IPKO, and MTS provide mobile internet services, including 3G and 4G connectivity.
Kosovo Telecom (KT), once a highly profitable entity, is currently facing a crisis due to various challenges. These challenges include political interference, mismanagement, an oversized workforce, and financial missteps, including unpaid arbitration awards. KT's subsidiary, Vala, holds approximately 50% of the mobile market share, and the company is grappling with severe financial difficulties, raising concerns about its potential bankruptcy.