Ukraine's competitive mobile market is dominated by the three network operators Vodafone Ukraine (owned by MTS), 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since SCM Group acquired Ukrtelecom in 2013: in January 2016 Vodafone Ukraine made a bid for the operator but this was withdrawn in the following October after the Antimonopoly Committee delayed making a decision of the deal.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, either by the regulator having delayed its introduction or by an insufficient number of companies bidding for the tender.
Mobile broadband services present a significant growth opportunity. Significant investment has been made in extending 3G infrastructure, while operators have more recently concentrated on LTE. Additional spectrum in the 2600MHz band was auctioned in January 2018, issued under 15-year licenses, and all three MNOs are expected to launch LTE services promptly.
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 as Vodafone.
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.
Lifecell launches LTE-A Pro services;
Regulator raises UAH2.288 billion in 2600MHz auction as well as UAH5.7 billion from 1800MHz assignments;
Lycamobile launches services in Ukraine as an MVNO;
Kyivstar gains approval for its StarMoney m-payment service;
Fresh MNP tender declared invalid;
Vodafone Ukraine preps for commercial LTE launch;
MTS Ukraine pulls out of deal to acquire TriMob;
Regulator extends Kyivstar's GSM 900MHz licence, agrees on specifications for converting spectrum from military to civilian use;
MNOs vacate Crimea and Donetsk regions;
CDMA refarming leads to MNOs sharing infrastructure;
Report update includes the regulator's market data, State Statistics data to March 2018, telcos' operating and financial data to Q1 2018, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Kyivstar, Ukrainian Radio Systems, Lifecell (Astelit), Vodafone Ukraine (MTS), Ukrtelecom.
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