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Belarus - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

The Belarus - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.

Executive summary

Belarus has enjoyed strong consistent economic growth despite significant government involvement, a fact that is also reflected in the development of its telecommunications market. Fixed-line density has grown steadily although much of the country remains underdeveloped. The high degree of government ownership in the sector reflects the status of the general economy, which is estimated to be 75% state owned.

The latest global financial crisis has hit Belarus particularly hard, which was forced to seek IMF help, securing €1.8 billion in credit from the organisation in January 2009. One of the obligations placed on Belarus by the IMF has been a devaluation of the Belarusian rouble, which dropped by 20% in early January 2009, leading to foreign owned telecom operators in Belarus to raise prices.

Fixed-line services are offered by monopoly telecoms operator Beltelecom, which has improved network capacity and international Internet bandwidth to support bandwidth-intensive services such as broadband Internet access and broadband TV (IPTV).

Broadband Internet services are available via ADSL, cable and wireless broadband and now account for approximately half of all Internet connections. The incumbent has reduced the cost of wholesale data lines to stimulate retail broadband take up.

Broadcasting is available via IPTV, cable and terrestrial TV platforms. Digital TV availability is expanding as part of a government initiative to ensure universal coverage by 2015.

The mobile sector is experiencing strong growth, with three GSM operators and one CDMA operator in operation. Mobile lines outnumber fixed lines, attributed to increased competition following the entrance of foreign players into the market which brings technical and marketing knowledge. Foreign ownership requirements have relaxed, allowing foreign players to acquire majority stakes in Belarus’ mobile network operators. With the mobile voice market maturing the focus has shifted to mobile data services, with BeST and Belcel possessing networks capable of delivering mobile broadband services.

Key highlights:

Previously unwilling to allow majority ownership of telecom participants, the government has signalled an increased willingness to allow foreign investors into the market, leading to majority ownership of two mobile network operators within the space of one year.

Broadband now represents over half of all Internet connections after increasing six fold during 2008, with DSL the most popular platform. This figure is expected to rise on the back of falling broadband rates, as evident by a 20% reduction in August 2009 for the cost of unbundled local loops.

Digital TV availability is expanding following the launch of digital services by a cable TV operator in May 2009, offering both SDTV and HDTV programming. Digital TV is also accessible via IPTV and terrestrial TV; the government is committed to ensuring digital TV accessibility in all regional centres by 2010 and full population coverage by 2015.

Mobile market competition is reinvigorated following the entrance of Telekom Austria and Turkey’s Turkcell into Belarus’ mobile market. Turkcell’s acquired operator has obtained radio frequencies and contracted a vendor in July 2009 to build a 3G network. Telekom Austria’s operator has taken a different route, entering into an exclusive agreement with a CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev A operator to offer mobile broadband services with speeds of up to 3.1Mb/s.Belarus - key telecom parameters - 2006; 2009

Sector20062009 (e)
Fixed-line telephone subscribers (thousand)3,3703,720
Fixed broadband subscribers (thousand)11400
Fixed broadband penetration rate5%
Mobile broadband penetration rate1%
Mobile phone subscribers (million)5,9808,840
3G market share of mobile base2%
(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Belarus’ telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 History
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 Ministry of Communications and Informatization (MCI)
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Belarus
4.3.1 Privatisation
4.3.2 Interconnection
4.3.3 Access
5. Fixed network operator in Belarus
5.1 Beltelecom
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.2 International infrastructure
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.4 Telecoms & IT
7. Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Belarus’ emerging Internet economy
7.1.2 Government programs
7.1.3 Internet statistics
7.2 Internet access locations
8. Broadband market
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
8.1.2 Cable modems
8.1.3 Wireless broadband
9. Convergence
9.1 Overview of broadcasting market
9.2 Digital TV
9.2.1 Broadband TV (IPTV)
9.2.2 Cable TV
9.2.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Belarus’ mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 First GSM licence awarded
10.2.2 Second GSM licence awarded
10.2.3 Third GSM licence awarded
10.2.4 CDMA licence awarded
10.2.5 Radio frequency usage fees introduced
10.2.6 3G licence
10.3 Mobile technologies
10.3.1 Analogue
10.3.2 Digital - GSM
10.3.3 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
10.3.4 Third generation mobile
10.4 Major mobile operators
10.4.1 Belcel / Diallog
10.4.2 Mobile Digital Communications (MDC) / Velcom
10.4.3 Mobile TeleSystems (MTS)
10.4.4 BeST / life :)
10.5 Mobile data services
10.5.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
10.5.2 GPRS, WAP and MMS
10.5.3 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
10.5.4 Broadband wireless data service (1x EV-DO)
10.6 Mobile content and applications
11. Forecasts - Fixed broadband market
11.1 Scenario 1 - higher fixed broadband subscriber growth 2009 - 2012; 2019
11.2 Scenario 2 - lower fixed broadband subscriber growth 2009 - 2012; 2019
11.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
12. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 - Country statistics Belarus - 2008
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2008
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2008
Table 4 - Internet subscriber statistics - 2008
Table 5 - Broadband subscriber statistics - 2008
Table 6 - Mobile statistics - March 2009
Table 7 - National telecommunications authority
Table 8 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1999 - 2008
Table 9 - Internet users, subscribers and penetration rate - 1998 - 2008
Table 10 - Internet users by age group - March 2009
Table 11 - Internet users by monthly income - March 2009
Table 12 - Broadband subscribers and penetration rate - 2003 - 2008
Table 13 - Broadcaster population coverage - January 2009
Table 14 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
Table 15 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1999 - 2009
Table 16 - MDC revenue, EBITDA and operating income - 2007 - 2008
Table 17 - MDC postpaid, prepaid and blended ARPU - 2007 - 2008
Table 18 - MDC monthly minutes of use (MOU) - 2007 - 2008
Table 19 - MDC prepaid users - 2007 - 2008
Table 20 - Total mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rate - 2006 - 2008
Table 21 - Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - higher growth scenario - 2009 - 2012; 2019
Table 22 - Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - lower growth scenario - 2009 - 2012; 2019

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