Wireless Moldova

Business travelers worldwide fight a constant battle of connectivity.  Can I call Home?  Can I “Skype” with my family?  Do I have adequate Internet access?

During recent business trips to Chisinau, Moldova, I have had the pleasure of working in a country with excellent, if not superior, Internet access within hotels, parks, Internet cafes, and really any other location within the capital city you would like to “jack in” to the Internet.

As I watch my Slingbox connecting to Channel 2 Evening News in Los Angeles, I am enjoying anywhere between 500Kbps and 900Kbps throughput, more than adequate to keep homesickness under control and keep up to date on the community.

CH2-cap2 Moldova has several Internet Service Providers available for public access, including StarNet, Orange Moldova, MoldTelecom, and lots of resellers of other company Internet capacity. 

The cost of accessing high performance Internet is a fraction of what you would expect to pay in the United States or other “developed” countries, and the performance is among the best I have experiences traveling in at least 15 countries during the past year.

Starnet and Orange take advantage of new terrestrial fiber optic capacity connecting Moldova through Romania, and then directly interconnecting with the global Internet community at Europe’s major Internet Exchange Points, including the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), the Frankfurt Exchange (DE-CIX), and London’s LINX.

A traceroute (following the path an Internet packet takes from my computer to my webhost in California) shows excellent routing outside of Moldova:

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Users\John R Savageau>tracert http://www.pacific-tier.com

Tracing route to sbs-p4p.asbs.yahoodns.net [216.39.62.190]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     3 ms    10 ms     2 ms  itns.md [93.113.118.1]
  2     5 ms     3 ms     3 ms  10.11.16.254
  3     7 ms     6 ms    14 ms  ex-starnet.starnet.md [89.28.1.177]
  4     8 ms     5 ms    10 ms  95-65-3-161.starnet.md [95.65.3.161]
  5    68 ms    49 ms    49 ms  ge-1-3-0.pat2.dee.yahoo.com [80.81.193.115]
6   135 ms   137 ms   136 ms  as-1.pat2.dcp.yahoo.com [66.196.65.129]
7   135 ms   134 ms   205 ms  ae-1-d171.msr2.re1.yahoo.com [216.115.108.31]
8   137 ms   137 ms   137 ms  gi-1-45.bas-b2.re4.yahoo.com [216.39.57.5]
9   136 ms   139 ms   136 ms  p4p2.geo.re4.yahoo.com [216.39.62.190]

Trace complete.

Disposable Income Demands Additional Considerations

Market conditions in Moldova are different from the US and other economically developed countries.  Those living below the poverty line in Moldova, according to the CIA World Factbook,  is around 30% .  Disposable income continues to be low, and a small percentage of the population owns or has access to private personal computers.

Thus the cost of Internet access, to develop market, is possibly artificially low.  or the US Internet access providers are artificially high…

Cost of accessing prepaid wireless Internet per month through Liberty WiFi Internet Access, a StarNet reseller:

Capture

NOTE:  1 US$ = ~12 Moldovan Lei

During a recent visit to Moldova I used Orange’s wireless Internet product, which was about 2 times the price of Liberty WiFi, but with equally impressive performance.

Internet Access is Essential for Moldova’s Development

As Moldova continues to struggle through the challenges of building a market economy, dealing with the issues of a newly democratized country, poor rural infrastructure (roads, telecom, power, etc), and socially coming to grips with their place in the European and Eastern communities, Moldova will need to quickly bring their citizens up to speed with technology and wired everything.

chisinau Cloud-based software, such as Microsoft Live Office, Google Docs, Yahoo Mail, and other hosted services will allow Moldovans access to Internet utilities without the high cost of software licensing, further allowing better use of shared resources in Internet cafes, schools, and other public locations.  The government is aggressively pursuing modern eGovernment projects to help the citizens reduce the burden of bureaucracy on their lives , and children are exposed to technology throughout the education system.

With Moldova’s Internet Service Providers delivering some of the highest performance network access in the world, Modovans will further be relieved of the burden of constructing large and small data centers, taking advantage of cloud and SaaS service providers located within Europe and North America, returning precious funds to building business – rather than ICT server and services infrastructure.

Moldova Supports Private Enterprise

While there are some items that could use some adjustment, such as high tariffs for importing computer equipment, Moldova has at least supported both domestic and foreign telecom companies in developing both fixed line and wireless infrastructure.  Orange (France Telecom), MoldCell (TeliaSonera),   and Starnet continue to build fiber optic and wireless network infrastructure, with nearly 100% 3G coverage throughout the country. 

The entire wireless system is 4G-ready, and deployment is planned within the next couple of years.

Impressive.  Really.

About johnsavageau
Another telecom junkie who has been bouncing around the international communications community for most of the past 35 years.

6 Responses to Wireless Moldova

  1. Pingback: An American View on Moldovan Wireless « moldnews.eu

  2. Pingback: An American View on Moldovan Wireless « moldnews.eu

  3. Vit says:

    The last link (and company name) is wrong – it’s Moldcell with two “L”s in the end, and I never heard them use “Telecom” in their company name in the 10 years that they have been in the market.

    You may also want to mention that local/national internet traffic often gets speeds of 100Mbps regardless of the plan a subscriber purchases in Moldova (so advertised speeds relate to international traffic, while locally most providers offer 100Mbps, which facilitates peer file sharing, streaming etc.).

  4. really enjoyed this. i was in Chisinau in August at the launch of the World Bank’s e-Transformation project with the Modolvan government and was similarly impressed. the country has some amazing plans for 4G, a public cloud infrastructure, etc. with luck, they will be able to leapfrog the region, the EU, and the world! sometimes being small and out of the way can be an advantage when you want to move quickly.

  5. Jerry K. says:

    On top of that, Moldova might be really technological shark in the region but needs to retain pro-progress oriented government. As I have chance to compare, in the last few months “people in power” there, have made a big step ahead. If early elections in the end of month will confirm that the will of the people is direction to modern, EU priented country, Moldova will certainly become leader in the region.

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