Belarus - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts
Beltelecom upgrades international bandwidth to meet traffic demand
BuddeComm's annual publication, Belarus - Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecoms sector in one of Eastern Europe's lager emerging markets. It incorporates the latest Ministry of Communication's market data, telcos' operational and financial data to Q1 2013, and market developments to May 2013. The report provides an overview of the telecoms market including the mobile voice and data, broadband and digital media sectors.
Belarus's economic growth was halted by the 2008 financial crisis. Although inflation has been brought down to more manageable levels since the hyper-inflationary years to 2011, the country will face difficult challenges into 2014 at least. The economic crisis has also affected the telecom sector, with reduced customer spend leading to lower telco revenue and investment.
Telecom sector overview
There remain many opportunities for growth in coming years given the relatively low penetration in fixed-telephony and broadband services. Although the sector has been reformed in recent years, restructuring has not resulted in the privatisation of the incumbent Beltelecom, which has invested substantially in infrastructure and technologies, assets which the government is keen to control despite having considered auctioning off the enterprise. Growth is expected to be particularly strong in the FttH sector, where much of the company's capex is directed.
The mobile sector has experienced the strongest growth in telecoms, with a rapid rise in mobile penetration attributed to effective competition. LTE services, launched in 2012, suggest that further revenue growth will come from mobile data services. Recent spectrum auctions will facilitate the development of mobile broadband access, particularly in rural areas. The government in early 2014 again failed to sell its 51% stake in MTS, with no bids being filed.
Belarus - Key telecom parameters 2010; 2013
Sector | 2010 | 2013 (e)
Subscribers to telecom services(million)
Fixed broadband | 1.8 | 3.12
Mobile telephony | 10.1 | 11.57
Fixed-line telephony | 4.04 | 4.24
Penetration of telecoms services
Fixed broadband | 14% | 21%
Mobile telephony | 108% | 124%
Fixed-line telephony | 42% | 45% (Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)
FttH deployment is guided by the Ministry of Communications within the state programme by which Beltelecom has made GPON-based FttH available to about 90,000 subscribers. Some 3,520km of cabling has been built thus far.
Analogue switch off by 2015 may be brought forward though DTTV development has been stymied by the high cost of reception equipment. To help push ASO, the sale of TV sets without DTT tuners are banned.
Future internet society development is guided by a development strategy for 2011-2015. Priorities include development to infrastructure, e-government, e-health, e-learning and human capital development
A commercial LTE launch in early 2012 in Minsk and Grodno has been the forerunner of considerable investment in LTE infrastructure.
Scartel has indicated its readiness to sell Yota Bel, potentially bringing in an international investor into the LTE market.
In March 2012 the UN ranked Belarus 48th on its e-government development index (in terms of telecoms infrastructure), compared to 84th in 2008.
International transmission capacity has grown in line with rising internet usage. By March 2012 capacity had reached 220Gb/s. of which the gateway to Russia accounted for 140Gb/s, with the remaining 80Gb/s transiting through its western link.
MTS Belarus launched DSL services in mid-2012, complementing its limited Ethernet offerings.
Beltelecom during 2013 contracted to increase international internet capacity from 350Gb/s to 450Gb/s, with new channels for both the western and eastern directions;
Belcel in early 2014 failed to have its 450MHz license renewed.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Belarus's telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors.
Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
Convergence and digital media;
3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts to 2015;
Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.
Belcel fails to have its 450MHz license renewed; telcos taxed at 1.5% on revenue for 2014 to help develop telecom networks; government fails to sell 51% stake in MTS despite reducing its asking price; government legislation restricts access to some foreign websites, obliges e-commerce to be made via site registered with the .by' domain name; Beltelecom builds out GPON FttH network; Yota launches commercial LTE services, expands network; regulator market data updates to early 2012; telcos' operating and financial data updates to Q3 2013; market developments to early 2014.
Companies covered in this report include:
Beltelecom, Cosmos TV, Minsk TV and Information Networks (MTIS), Teleradio, Belcel, MDC, MTS Belarus, BeST.
This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Belarus.
It provides further information on:
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Mobile data market developments in coming years in light of spectrum auctions and new license awards;
3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies including HSPA and LTE;
Broadband migration to an FttH architecture;
Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts;
ARPU statistics and forecasts.
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