The study has been completed in October 2004 and the major findings are summarized below:
During the last few years the Greek Economy has seen considerable improvement of its key financial indices. Despite the general stagnation in the European market as a whole in 2003 and 2003, the Greek economy saw strong growth rates in 2002, similar to those it enjoyed in 2001.
In Greece Telecommunications revenue accounts for 4.6% of national GDP --considerably higher that almost all developed European countries. This high contribution is attributed to the considerably increased penetration of telecommunications services among the population. In the event that Greek consumers rapidly adopt technological evolutions such as broadband access or DtH this percentage could be further increased.
With regards to satellite services, OTE is a shareholder in INTELSAT Ltd., EUTELSAT S.A., NEW SKIES and INMARSAT. OTE operates a total of 14 digital satellite earth stations, two of which are transportable. OTE's satellite facilities have access to the services of the four satellite companies in which he holds participations and are mainly used for international telephony and other services, such as data communications, video conferencing, digital television transmission, etc. Additionally, OTE uses the INTERSPUTNIK satellite system (which provides space capacity for VSAT networking). OTE provides INMARSAT satellite communications services to maritime, land and aeronautical users. OTE SAT, OTE's subsidiary, promotes INMARSAT services commercially in Greece.
HELLAS SAT owns and operates the Hellas-Sat 2 satellite, which is located at 39o East, launched on the 13th of May, 2003. The satellite can provide DTH broadcasting services, distribution of Video and Radio signals, Data and IP services, and advanced telecommunication services such as VSAT networks. Two of the European transponders are dedicated for occasional use and SNGs (Satellite News Gathering).
The Telecommunication Infrastructure in Greece has rapidly evolved over the last few years. OTE completed successfully a crash program for digitalization of its network. The mobile carriers (Cosmote, Vodafone, Stet Hellas, Q-telephone), following the big success of mobile services in Greece, developed and upgraded their networks and new entrants have started building their own infrastructure. In addition, the hosting of the Olympic Games in August of 2004 has pressured for the development of telecommunications infrastructure.
The Telecommunications industry as a whole presented a considerable increase of 6.8% in sales, but showed a sharp decline in profits, mainly due to a decrease in profits in the Hardware production due to the decline of the IT market generally in Greece, as well as a reduction of EU funded programs year-on-year and Integration & Trading due to stagnation in the local IT market.
Almost 134 firms are active in the Telecommunications sector. Out of these, 90 published financial statements for fiscal year 2002 and were surveyed. All of them (134) have been sent a questionnaire, and 34 of them replied (25.5% reply rate).
There is a number of qualified to highly qualified Greek Telco companies that, with the appropriate support and guidance from ESA, can make a successful transition to space and satellite markets and product development and become competitive in these markets. Nearly all companies expressed plans to enter the satellite/space activities mainly in Research and Development and Applications Content Development.
The majority of the companies believes that it will benefit from a potential cooperation with ESA, mainly in strategic issues and business development, and identified that Greece should invest in space in areas such as software applications and satellite/ space services (in particular emergency management applications and Internet services), and to a much lesser degree in hardware.
Another fact worth noticing is the heavy focus of Greek companies on software applications development. It is exactly those sectors (in particular emergency & relief of disaster, tele-learning, e-government and security) that the Greek companies feel to have the highest competence. A relatively small percentage indicated competence in core space sectors, such as ground segment, user terminal and hardware in general, although a good percentage indicated their involvement in these sectors.
The majority of the Greek Telco companies cater primarily to the needs of the government and the large corporations. [Note that the definition for a large corporation used in the survey sets the threshold of Revenue at Â¬1m]. It is recommended that ESA supports the Greek companies to diversify to the consumer space and satellite markets, and enhance their capabilities to compete in the international and domestic markets.
ESA can also play an important role in raising awareness about the opportunities present in the space and satellite activities and markets. This role is well recognized by most of the companies in the survey.