Ukraine - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses
Ukraine's competitive mobile market is dominated by the three network operators MTS Ukraine (which has operated under the Vodafone Ukraine moniker since mid-2015), VimpelCom's Kyivstar and Lifecell, owned by Turkcell. The mobile subsidiary of the incumbent telco Ukrtelecom, trading as TriMob, has been considered for sale since SCM Group acquired Ukrtelecom in 2013: in January 2016 Vodafone Ukraine made a bid for the operator but this was withdrawn in the following October after the Antimonopoly Committee delayed making a decision of the deal.
Together, these players have held back the development of the MVNO sector by promoting their own low-cost subsidiaries. As a result the MVNO market remains underdeveloped and few operators have been licensed thus far. Nevertheless a gap in the low-cost sector may provide the opportunity for MVNOs to thrive in coming years. Competition resulting from mobile number portability has also been stymied by the regulator having delayed its introduction: a contract to manage the system was not concluded until the very end of 2016.
Mobile broadband services present a significant growth opportunity. Significant investment has been made in extending 3G (HSPA+) infrastructure to support customer demand for mobile data and broadband services. However, the launch of commercial LTE services has been put back to end of 2017, when the auction of suitable spectrum is scheduled. This processed was eased in March 2017 after Kyivstar reached an agreement with Vodafone Ukraine and Lifecell on the redistribution of spectrum in the 1800MHz band currently used for GSM services, and to reassigned for LTE. To this spectrum will be added 80MHz of spectrum in the 2600MHz band, to be issued under 15-year licenses.
A continuing difficulty for MNOs remains the conflict with Russia, which has resulted in operators having to write-down the value of assets in disputed regions, and being forced out of Crimea as well as the Donetsk and other contested areas. Anti-Russian sentiment formed the backdrop for MTS Ukraine's decision to rebrand.
This report presents a concise overview and analysis of Ukraine's mobile market, offering a range of statistics as well as profiles of the key players and an assessment of mobile technology deployments.
Lycamobile launches services in Ukraine as an MVNO; UCRF starts MNP tender afresh; regulator sets minimum price for 1800MHz spectrum licences expected to be auctioned by end-2017; MTS Ukraine pulls out of deal to acquire TriMob; regulator preps for 2600MHz auction for LTE; local court orders the regulator to extend LTE licenses held by MMDS Ukraine; regulator extends Kyivstar's GSM 900MHz licence, auctions 2.1GHz spectrum, agrees on specifications for converting spectrum from military to civilian use; MNOs vacate Crimea and Donetsk regions; Lifecell retreats from all but five regions; CDMA refarming leads to MNOs sharing infrastructure; additional MVNOs secure licenses; report update includes the regulator market data, State Statistics data to December 2016, telcos' operating and financial data to Q4 2016, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Kyivstar, Ukrainian Radio Systems, Lifecell (Astelit), Vodafone Ukraine (MTS Ukraine), Ukrtelecom, Beeline (Kyivstar).