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Kazakhstan - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

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

The Kazakhstan - 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. Please review the Executive Summary and Table of Contents for more details.

Executive summary

Although growth slowed significantly in 2009, Kazakhstan has been experiencing a booming telecom market that included almost 100% mobile penetration by early 2010. This has come about on the back of a growing economy and a program of positive regulatory reform in the telecom sector. Legislation adopted in 2004 laid the foundation for the liberalisation and development of the telecom sector and put an end to the monopoly enjoyed by Kazakhtelecom, the state-controlled telecom operator.

The rapid and successful development of telecommunications in the country encouraged several foreign suppliers to establish a presence in this emerging market. Since 1992, international operators and manufacturers have been active in Kazakhstan in providing services and installing state-of-the-art equipment, especially as part of the country’s international telecom network. Companies such as Motorola, Lucent, Siemens, Alcatel, Nokia, Daewoo and Nortel Networks have all been active in the market. Recognising the long-term potential of this market, many foreign telecom companies were looking to invest and form partnerships with local telecom companies.

By 2005 four private operators had been licensed to provide international and long-distance services in competition with the incumbent Kazakhtelecom. They were state-railway subsidiary TransTelecom, KazTransCom (a subsidiary of the national oil company), Ducat and Astel. Up to 1,500 new telecom service providers of various kinds had been licensed by end-2005.

The key drivers in the telecom sector included:

  • the deployment of Kazakhtelecom’s fully-digital national telecom network based on local and long-distance switches and fibre optic lines linking all major cities in the country;
  • efforts to improve international connectivity and increase both mobile and fixed-line subscribers; the continuing digitalisation of exchanges;
  • the further reform of telecommunications legislation;
  • the process of accession to the World Trade Organization.
Kazakhstan had a relatively strong fixed-line penetration (24 telephone lines per 100 inhabitants by end-2009), with six operators providing fixed-line telephone services to about 3.8 million subscribers. There had been long waiting lists for fixed-line telephone services over the years. The country’s mobile market entered a boom phase in 2000, no doubt boosted to some extent by the long delays in obtaining fixed-line services. The number of mobile services had exceeded fixed-lines by late 2004. Demand for mobile services was so strong that in 2006 that the government went on to auction a third GSM licence (and fourth mobile operator licence), which was duly awarded to NeoTelecom, a subsidiary of Kazakhtelecom. NeoTelecom then launched its mobile service in early 2007.

Of particular note has been the recent healthy growth in Internet activity in Kazakhstan, with the move to broadband access in particular taking place at a rapid rate. Broadband subscribers as a proportion of the population had reached 10% by early 2010, with the market likely to continue its expansion by 100% annually.

Major highlights:

  • After Kazakhstan’s mobile market delivered annual growth of 36% in 2008, the 2009 year saw a major slowdown in the market with net growth almost negligible;
  • With a mobile penetration approaching 100% in early 2010, the country’s mobile market was continuing to grow but was expected to start saturating in the not too distant future;
  • Broadband Internet was quickly expanding on top of a general upturn in demand for Internet services; the number of broadband subscribers increased tenfold from a relatively small base in 2006/07, then doubled in 2008 and doubled again in 2009;
  • There had been a significant shift to broadband access in 2009 as the proportion of Internet subscribers using broadband shifted from 43% to 76% in that twelve-month period;
  • Kazakhstan, despite the considerable presence of incumbent Kazakhtelecom across the market, was continuing to benefit from a diversified market that offered an energetic and competitive environment, especially in respect of the mobile market;
  • On the economic front, after an eight-year period in which GDP had been growing at an annual rate in excess of 8%, 2008 saw a major slowdown in the Kazakhstan economy with GDP growth falling to 3%; 2009 saw growth fall even further (to around 1%) as the full impact of the global financial crisis hit.
A modest recovery in the short term has been forecast by the IMF with a GDP growth rate of 2% expected in 2010 and 4% in 2011.Kazakhstan - key telecom parameters - 2009 - 2010 Category20092010 (e)

Fixed-line services:
  • Total number of subscribers (million)3.84.0
  • Annual change6%5%
  • Fixed-line penetration (population)24%26%
  • Fixed-line penetration (household)5.9%6.4%
  • Total number of Internet subscribers (million)1.82.5
  • Annual change64%39%
  • Internet subscriber penetration (population)12%16%
  • Broadband subscribers (million)1.41.8
  • Broadband penetration (population)9%12%
Mobile services:
  • Total number of subscribers (million)15.116.5
  • Annual change3%10%
  • Mobile penetration (population)97%103%
  • (Source: BuddeComm)
This report provides an overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications markets in Kazakhstan. Subjects covered include:
  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Regulatory environment;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Mobile market;
  • Internet market, including broadband;
  • A set of scenario forecasts for fixed-line, Internet and mobile segments.

  • Executive summary
    • Table Kazakhstan - key telecom parameters - 2009 - 2010
  • Key statistics
    • Table Country statistics Kazakhstan - 2010
    • Table Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2009
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2009
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2009
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2009
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • Country overview
  • Telecommunications market
    • Overview of Kazakhstan's telecom market
  • Regulatory environment
    • Regulatory authority
    • Liberalisation and regulatory development
    • Privatisation
  • Fixed-network operators in Kazakhstan
    • Astel
    • Ducat (formerly Kazintel)
    • Kazakhtelecom
      • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2005 - 2009
      • Table Kazakhtelecom urban and rural fixed-line subscribers - June 2009
    • KazInformTelecom (KIT)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure
    • National
      • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2011
      • IP-based services
      • Next Generation Network (NGN) development
      • Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • International infrastructure
      • Trans Asia-Europe (TAE)
      • Satellite networks
      • KazSat satellite series
  • Internet market
    • Overview
      • Table Internet users - 1996 - 2011
      • Table Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2011
      • Table Broadband subscribers - 2003 - 2010
      • Table Broadband subscribers and household overview - 2009
      • Table DSL subscribers - 2007 - 2009
      • Table Internet bandwidth capacity - 2001 - 2009
      • Censorship
      • E-commerce
      • E-government
      • Kazakh Network Information Centre (KazNIC)
      • Ashyk Alem Project
    • Broadband services
      • WiMAX
    • ISP market
      • Kazakhstan Online
      • Nursat
    • Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
  • Mobile communications
    • Overview of Kazakhstan's mobile market
      • Third GSM mobile operator licence
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual change - 1996 - 2011
        • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
        • Table Mobile operators - market share - March 2009
    • Mobile technologies
      • Third Generation (3G)
      • Trunk Mobile Radio (TMR)
    • Major mobile operators
      • Altel
      • GSM-Kazakhstan (K'Cell)
      • Kar-Tel (K-Mobile)
      • Mobile Telecom Service (NeoTelecom)
  • Forecasts
    • Overview
    • Forecasts - fixed-line market - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rates - 2015; 2020
    • Forecasts - Internet services - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast Internet subscribers and penetration rates - 2015; 2020
    • Forecasts - mobile market - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates - 2015; 2020
    • Notes on forecasting

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