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Albania Communications


Until 1990, Albania was one of the world's most isolated and controlled countries, and installation and maintenance of a modern system of international and domestic telecommunications was precluded. Callers previously needed operator assistance even to make domestic long-distance calls.

Communications are owned and operated by the state and are administered by the Ministry of Communications. In 2005, there were 353,600 main line telephones. Some villages may not have telephone service at all. Most of Albania's telephones were obsolete, low-quality East European models, some dating from the 1940s; workers at a Tirana factory assembled a small number of telephones from Italian parts. In the early 1990s, Albania had only 240 microwave circuits to Italy and 180 to Greece carrying international calls. The Albanian telephone company had also installed two U-20 Italtel digital exchanges. The exchange in Tirana handled international, national, and local calls; the Durrës exchange handled only local calls. Two United States firms handled direct-dial calls from the US to Tirana. Currently the land lines are extremely overloaded and it is very difficult to receive a telephone number. As a result, the number of mobile phones has skyrocketed in the bigger cities; in 2007, there were 2.3 million mobile cellular phones in used.

Radio and TV broadcasting is governed by the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), a seven-member bipartisan body elected by the Parliament. In 2005, there were 60 radio stations (13 AM, 46 FM and 1 shortwave) operated by Radiotelevizioni Shqiptar (Albanian Radio and Television - RTVSh), located at Kashar, a suburb of Tiranë, and at Shkodër, Stalin, Vlorë, Gjirokastër, Korçë, and several other towns. Television was introduced in 1961, colour broadcasts in 1981. As of 2005, there were 3 national and 62 local television stations. In the same year, there were 1,000,000 radios and 700,000 television sets.

As of 2006, there were about 471,200 internet users in Albania.


Telephones - main lines in use
353,600 (2005)

Telephones - mobile cellular
2.3 million (2007)

Telephone system
general assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, the density of main lines remains low with roughly 10 lines per 100 people; cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective; combined fixed line and mobile telephone density is approximately 75 telephones per 100 persons
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed line capacity, mobile phone service has been available since 1996; by 2003, two companies were providing mobile services at a greater density than some of Albania's neighbours; internet broadband services initiated in 2005; internet cafes are popular in Tirana and have started to spread outside the capital
international: country code - 355; submarine cable provides connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; the Trans-Balkan Line, a combination submarine cable and land fibre-optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international traffic carried by fibre-optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2007)

Radio broadcast stations
AM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)

Television broadcast stations
65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)

Internet country code

Internet hosts
10,162 (2008)

Internet users
471,200 (2006)





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