With an annual growth rate between 2 and 15 percent over the last several years, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in North Macedonia is a promising area for U.S. companies. The growth is stimulated by continued investments by the government and telecommunications companies in ICT, decreases in net prices of ICT equipment, and a decrease in the applicable value-added tax (VAT). The ICT sector in North Macedonia benefits from a skilled and cost-effective workforce with excellent English language skills, solid telecommunications infrastructure, and low corporate tax. ICT representatives expect the sector will continue to grow.
The total ICT market value in North Macedonia was an estimated $1 billion in 2021. Software and IT Services was the largest segment (56 percent) of the ICT market in North Macedonia, followed by ICT Trade and Manufacturing (27 percent). Many large ICT companies, such as Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Dell, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Apple, and Lotus, are present in North Macedonia via branch offices, distributors, dealers, resellers, solution providers, and business partners.
The best prospects continue to be in smart phones, tablets, cloud technology, Wireless Application Protocol services, and 4G and 5G network equipment and solutions. There are also opportunities for alternative telephone service operators, as well as services such as call centers, home-work services, and distance learning services. Good opportunities continue to exist in the telecommunications sector for innovative peripheral products and services. The largest customers in telecommunications are the two mobile operators in North Macedonia: Makedonski Telekom (part of the Deutsche Telekom Group through controlling owner Magyar Telekom) and A1 (a member of A1 Telekom Austria Group).
A number of local software development companies are creating applications for Western markets in fields as diverse as banking, air traffic control, digital animation, cybersecurity, and website development.
With the liberalization of the telecom industry in 2005 (with the Law on Electronic Communications (PDF); many opportunities exist to sell products and services in this market. In November 2019, Makedonski Telekom launched the first real-time test of a 5G network by installing it at Skopje’s city square. After conducting an auction, the Agency for Electronic Communications granted spectrum licenses in July 2022 to two bidders on 5G frequency allocations in North Macedonia.