Internet in Romania
|This article is outdated. (July 2013)|
In Romania there are 12.9 million connections to the Internet (June 2012). Country code (Top level domain): .ro. The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states. There were over 600 000 domains registered under .ro at the end of 2012.
In most international rankings, Romania is among the first places in the world based on the speed of its internet service.
According to a top made by Bloomberg in 2013, Romania is ranked 3th in the world and 2nd in Europe in terms of internet connection speed, being surpassed by Hong Kong and Japan. Average peak speed 47.9 Mbit/s. In Akamai's The State of the Internet Report covering the fourth quarter of 2012, Romania came 4th on average peak connection speed by EMEA country/region.
Based on Net Index report at the end of first half of 2013, Timișoara has become the city with the highest download speed in the world. Timișoara had a download speed of 89.91 Mbit/s.The second Romanian city which appeared in the ranking was Constanța, on the 14th place, with a speed of 34.45 Mbit/s. Capital Bucharest came 19th, with a speed of 33.57 Mbit/s, and Brașov, 27th, with 31.01 Mbit/s. World City Ranking requires at least 75,000 unique IP addresses for a given city.
Based on Net Index data from April 2015, Cristesti is the Romanian town with the fastest internet speed of 139.12 Mbit/s. This is surprinsing give the fact that major cities are ranked lower on the list, Bucharest being listed at number 6, while Iasi is present on the 9th position. Romania is one of the countries with the fastest fixed internet connection speeds, but also one with the cheapest plans with 1 Gbit/s internet connections beind sold for almost 12 euros.
Internet Service Providers
Total number of active providers, as of Dec 31 2007: 1338
- Dial-up Access (fixed and cellular): 64 providers,
- Coaxial Cable (cable modem) Access: 72 providers,
- Optical Fiber Access: 343 providers,
- Wireless Access: 355 providers,
- xDSL Access: 52 providers,
- Twisted pair Ethernet, satellite, other: 1125 providers
Broadband Internet access
Distribution of broadband connections by type, as reported by ANRCTI, is as follows:
- ISDN: 0.003%
- Cellular broadband (EDGE, CDMA/EVDO, 3G): 33.1%
- Cable modems: 14.9%
- Optical fiber: 2.9%
- Wireless: 1% (0.7% Wi-Fi)
- xDSL: 11.4%
- Twisted pair Ethernet, satellite, other: 36.7%
In Romania, broadband internet has been available since 2000, through coaxial cable, first from Kappa (now owned by UPC) and currently from RCS&RDS and UPC. Recent speeds range between 2 Mbit/s and 1000 Mbit/s for household targeted plans, and the data traffic is unmetered.
However, the most popular broadband services are provided by micro-ISPs (known locally as "reţea de bloc/reţea de cartier" (Block/Neighborhood Networks)) with 50 to 3000 customers each. These ISPs usually provide their services through 100BASE-T UTP LANs, with a number of particularities and peculiarities: most were grassroot organizations and still have a feeling of community between subscribers and the management, speeds are usually divided in three categories: "LAN", "Metropolitan" and "International" with Metropolitan meaning a limited number of networks with which the micro-ISP has a peering agreement and sometimes the cable internet providers. Generally, for such broadband connections, speeds are 1000 Mbit/s locally, 1-100 Mbit/s metro and 256-2048 kbit/s International. Some of these micro-ISP function completely legally, while others (generally the smaller ones) are organized informally in something like a permanent LAN party. Many of these micro-ISPs formed organizations to represent their common interests and provide for integration of services (one such organization is Interlan, covering the whole of Bucharest). Speeds, uptime, quality of service are generally not guaranteed, and while the biggest networks offer high quality connections and / 30 Mbit/s upload internationaltechnical support, for the smallest ones, there is even the risk of network cards burning because of lightning strikes and badly insulated network infrastructure.
For business use, services are usually provided through fiber optics or radio. Companies providing such services are providing very flexible and negotiable plans also based on the Metropolitan/International distinction. Usually prices and bandwidths are fully negotiable, with the micro-ISPs discussed above being influential resellers. There is very strong competition, with no peering between many such companies (again requiring a lot of traffic to be routed through international routes) and not even access to another's fiber-optics infrastructure (leading to the existence, in some cases, of over 25 fiber optics cables on the same street, hanging from the same pole). As such many companies have two separate providers for basically the same services. The major players being:
- UPC formerly known as Astral
iLink(acquired by RCS-RDS)
- Ines & * Fibernet
- GTS Central Europe GTS Telecom (formerly known as KPNQuest Romania)
- Lamit Company
DSL has been an option since late 90's but is a less popular choice compared to the other offers because it is slightly more expensive. It has a great coverage (more than 650 cities and towns). DSL in Romania is provided mainly by Romtelecom who offers ADSL/ADSL+/ADSL2/VDSL. Nowadays most other providers prefer to use FO.
Usually, in order to be able to get an internet subscription through cable, the customers must also subscribe to a TV service.
- 100 Mbit/s downstream (new network based on EoC, mostly in rural areas and small towns) (€6.5/month)
- 300 Mbit/s downstream (new network based on EoC, mostly in rural areas and small towns) (€8.9/month)
- 500 Mbit/s - (€10.04/month)
- 1000 Mbit/s - (€12.26/month)
Note that >100 Mbit/s installations are not available in most places and it can take a long time(many months/years) for RDS to install the necessary equipment/infrastructure to enable it.
RCS&RDS also offers free 3G communication to the clients who have a landline internet connection with speeds up to 21 Mbit/s for the first 5 GB of data per month, and unlimited transfer with speeds up to 128 kbit/s after the first 5 GB. RCS&RDS has more than 2000 free wi-fi hotspots in major cities and tourist attraction areas.
Triple Play (cable, internet, phone service) subscriptions are offered. Note that one must also have a cable subscription with RCS&RDS to have an Internet subscription, but each subscription can be sold separately in the areas covered by the fiber optics network. RCS-RDS
Since 2006, RCS&RDS are moving internet and phone subscribers (especially those who live in apartment buildings) from the cable DOCSIS 2.0 network to their new FTTB infrastructure.
- 60 Mbit/s download, 4 Mbit/s upload for €7.8/month
- 100 Mbit/s download, 4 Mbit/s upload for €8.9/month
- 120 Mbit/s download, 6 Mbit/s upload for €11.2/month
- 150 Mbit/s download, 6 Mbit/s upload for €11.2/month
- 200 Mbit/s download, 6 Mbit/s upload for €13.4/month
- 500 Mbit/s download, 25 Mbit/s upload for €15.61/month
Triple Play (cable, internet, phone service) subscriptions are offered. Note that one must also have a cable subscription with UPC to have an Internet subscription. UPC Romania
During 2010-2011, UPC upgraded their cable network from DOCSIS 2.0 to DOCSIS 3.0
Romtelecom offers several data plans with a speed of up to 100 Mbit/s (102400 kbit/s downstream, 30720 kbit/s upstream) provided through a combination of FTTB and xDSL infrastructure.
RCS&RDS launched in 2006 FiberLink, an optic fiber based internet subscription geared towards supporting and encouraging the large demand for cheap metropolitan traffic. Most of RCS&RDS' cable infrastructure immediately began being replaced by the newer FTTB, and as of late 2006 RCS&RDS started expanding the service by acquiring and converting the popular "Neighborhood Networks" of the urban areas.
As of 2015, the basic residential subscriptions are:
- 100 Mbit/s downstream / 100 Mbit/s upstream (internet) and 100 Mbit/s upstream (on own network) (FTTP technology) (€6.5/month)
- 300 Mbit/s downstream / 100 Mbit/s upstream (internet) and 100 Mbit/s upstream (on own network) (FTTP technology) (€8.7/month)
- 500 Mbit/s downstream / 200 Mbit/s upstream (internet) and 200 Mbit/s upstream (on own network) (FTTP technology) (€10.9/month)
- 1000 Mbit/s downstream / 200 Mbit/s upstream (internet) and 200 Mbit/s upstream (on own network) (FTTP technology) (€12.5/month)
The 500 and 1000 Mbit services were announced in October 2013; the upstream speed on these was limited to 100 Mbit/s at that time. Availability for these services was limited to 150 cities and towns at the time of launch.
Using the same FTTB infrastructure RDS&RCS is also offering business connections which have symmetrical bandwidths (same speed for downstream and upstream):
- up to 10 Mbit/s for 20 Euro/month
- up to 20 Mbit/s for 30 Euro/month
- up to 10 Mbit/s for 50 Euro/month, with 1 Mbit contractually guaranteed speed
- up to 10 Mbit/s for 100 Euro/month, with 2 Mbit contractually guaranteed speed
(and faster speeds also) The infrastructure supports 10 Gbit/s metropolitan (local) traffic.
RCS&RDS offers their FiberLink service to residential customers in individual homes through a GPON implementation, with gigabit speeds. The service is available to residential customers in condominiums if they opt for FL500 or FL1000 even if a FTTB solution already exists. The Internet subscription packages are the same as for the FTTB.
Service is offered by Romtelecom, through the Clicknet brand.
- ClickNet Surf 2 Mbit/s (2048 kbit/s downstream, 1024 kbit/s upstream)
- ClickNet Play 20 Mbit/s (20480 kbit/s downstream, 4096 kbit/s upstream)
- ClickNet Power 30 Mbit/s (30720 kbit/s downstream, 6144 kbit/s upstream)
Clients must also subscribe to a landline phone service provided by Romtelecom.
Mobile & Wireless
Usually a subscription plan includes a certain amount of data traffic per month, after which the user is limited to 128 kbit/s download speeds.
Orange Romania offers a 3G/3G+ service with speeds of up to 43.2 Mbit/s in a limited number of cities and up to 21.6 Mbit/s in rural areas (on 900 and 2100 MHz frequencies). Since April 2014 their offer was updated to include subscriptions for 4G.Since September 2014 they introduced 4G+ with speeds up to 300 Mbit/s.
Vodafone Romania also uses 3G/3G+ technologies, with speeds of up to 43.2 Mbit/s in big cities and up to 21.6 Mbit/s nationwide (on 900 and 2100 MHz frequencies). In 2012 they were the first operator to offer 4G subscriptions with the speeds gradually increased from 75 to 150 Mbit/s. On 8 September 2014, Vodafone announced it's new technology: Supernet 4G - more often known as 4G+, which promises internet speeds of 300 Mbit/s using the mobile network. According to OpenSignal report on 24 September 2015, Vodafone Romania is the fastest internet provider of LTE services in Europe with an average 36 Mbit/s for download.
RCS&RDS provides 3G internet with speeds of up to 21.6 Mbit/s in the main cities and up to 7.2 Mbit/s on the main roads(on 900 and 2100 MHz frequencies). Wired internet subscribers with superior plans also receive a free 3G internet dongle and service. Since Jun 2014 an agreement with Vodafone allows the users of RCS&RDS services to do national roaming for both voice and data, using the infrastructure of Vodafone in places were RCS&RDS does not have coverage. On 20 August 2015, RCS&RDS announced that they acquired a LTE license that was previously owned by 2K Telekom Romania SRL. With no specific launched date, Digi.Mobil (the brand under witch RCS&RDS operates) promised that its 4G services will be available in the biggest 25 cities across the country until the end of the year, with the first 12 cities access in September. The license acquired is for Band38 - LTE ; TDD-LTE on 2600 MHz with a maximum download speed of 150 Mbit/s.
WiMAX services are offered by companies like Idilis, OpticNET, Necc Telecom and Rombit NET. Speeds go up to 6 Mbit/s download and 1 Mbit/s upload, with unmetered traffic. Some providers are resellers or share the same radio infrastructure.
Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
RCS&RDS launched the Digi Wi-Fi service in 2011. It is free to use by all RCS&RDS wired internet subscribers, and free for up to 60 minutes per day for guests. There are no paid plans available. Hotspot Map
Vodafone Romania launched the Vodafone Wi-Fi service in 2012. It allows free connections for up to 60 minutes, after which the user is disconnected. A new free connection can be made again, after the time is up. Hotspot Map
CityNet and the vice mayor of Botosani, Cosmin Andrei launched at the Summer Fest 2013 a new service offering free Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 30 locations covering places such as schools, public parks, hospitals and landmark buildings. Promises were also made to extend in the near future.
Lamit Company provides two-way internet via satellite (starting from €45/month ) with speeds up to 20 Mbit/s for home use and up to 50 Mbit/s for professional/business use on both Ka-Band and Ku-band. 
- "Numărul conexiunilor la Internet în bandă largă din România a crescut cu 19,4%". Gândul. 12 December 2012.
- "Starea domeniilor .RO înregistrate până în 2013". Marketing 20. 30 April 2013.
- "Top 20: Where to Find the World's Fastest Internet". Bloomberg. 23 Jul 2013.
- "Romanian city comes out first in the world in Internet download speed ranking". Net Index. 3 July 2013.
- zaone, "Romania – orasele cu el mai rapid internet fix", iDevice.ro, 29 April 2015
- ANRCTI report from May 2008 providing statistics up to December 31 2007, pages 51-72
- RCS&RDS Hotspot location. "RCS&RDS Hotspot location". RCS&RDS. Retrieved 29 December 2013.