LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 EURASIA, MOSCOW: GSMA Intelligence predicted the Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region would experience a surge in 4G-based data traffic as the availability of low-cost smartphones continues to drive increased adoption in the years to 2025.
In GSMA Intelligence’s Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2021 report, released to coincide with the opening of Mobile 360 Eurasia, the analyst company forecast 85 per cent of mobile handset connections in the region would be attached to smartphones in 2025, compared with 71 per cent in 2020.
The increased adoption, it estimated, would lead to an increased appetite for data-hungry applications accessible through the devices. It expects this demand to be largely met by 4G, which it defined as a strategic priority for operators in the region.
In 2025, it anticipates 4G will account for 70 per cent of total connections. This compares with 16 per cent on 3G and 8 per cent 5G.
Its 2025 estimate for 5G connections across the region is 33 million, down from the 52 million it predicted in the previous edition of its annual report.
Discussing the status of 5G in the region’s dominant market it noted: “In late 2020, the Russian government released a 5G roadmap, requiring operators to build 5G networks using locally produced equipment.”
“This decision, along with unresolved issues around spectrum, risks delaying the launch of commercial 5G services in Russia until 2024 at the earliest. In the meantime, operators will shift focus to testing various use case[s] for the enterprise and consumer segments.”
Although mobile penetration was already high across the 12-market region, analysts noted there was still room for subscriber growth, especially in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
At the end of 2020 there were 238 unique mobile subscribers across the markets covered, which are: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This figure is expected to increase to 244 million in 2025.
During the forecast period (2020 to 2025) operators in the region are expected to invest more than $26 billion in networks, with an “increasing share” said to be dedicated 5G spend.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back