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Kazkahstan and Central Asia Telecommunications Report Q2 2012
Business Monitor International, May 2012, Pages: 112
Kazkahstan and Central Asia Telecommunications Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, telecommunication associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Poland's telecommunications industry.
The Q212 update to BMI’s report on telecoms markets of Kazakhstan and its four Central Asian neighbours incorporates new mobile subscriber data for the three months ending December 31 2011. Using this data, we have made upward revisions to our five-year growth forecasts for the development of several of the region’s mobile markets based on stronger than expected growth in Q411. Looking ahead, the region’s mobile markets will continue to see growth, however, we expect additions to slow in the latter part of the forecast period as a number of the region’s markets see a slowdown as mobile markets reach maturity.
Looking at our broadband subscriber forecasts for the region include customers who use devices such as netbooks and USB sticks to connect to the internet wirelessly through a high-speed (3G) network; however, we do not include smartphones, only dedicated mobile data subscriptions. Meanwhile, of all the region’s markets, Kazakhstan has the most sophisticated fixed broadband sector. A number of operators are investing in the development of optical fibre (FTTx) services and are forging ahead with plans to introduce advanced IP services such as IPTV.
Key regional developments within the past three months include the conclusion of the first phase of the agreement for Nordic operator TeliaSonera to increase its stake in K-Cell, Kazakhstan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers. In February 2012, TeliaSonera announced the completion of the first phase of the transaction, acquiring 49% from Kazakh fixed-line operator Kazakhtelecom for US$1.52bn. It reiterated its position that it would sell 25% minus one share in an IPO before the end of 2012. K-Cell is a joint venture (JV) between Fintur Holdings (with a 51% stake) and Kazakhtelecom (with 49%). Meanwhile, Fintur Holdings is owned by TeliaSonera (58.55%) and Turkey’s Turkcell (with a 41.45% interest). As detailed in the earlier MoU, Kazakhtelecom will list all of its shares in the aforementioned IPO, apart from a 24% plus one share, which will be acquired by TeliaSonera directly.
Another notable regional development was the news that from January 1 2012 the Government of Uzbekistan introduced a fee for mobile operators charged on a per subscriber basis. The presidential resolution requires operators to pay UZK400 (US$0.24) a subscriber each month. Although insubstantial in dollar terms, BMI calculates it to correspond to a little under 5% of market average monthly ARPU. The fee may contribute to price rises already announced for January 2012 by the country’s three largest operators – MTS, UCell and Beeline. A total of 90% of the received funds will go to the state budget of Uzbekistan, while the remaining 10% will go the regulator. We await operator results from Q112 to determine what impact this has had on the ongoing development of the Uzbekistan mobile market.
At the time of writing, Turkmenistan’s largest mobile operator, MTS Turkmenistan, continues to be offline, with no data reported for the operator. In March 2012, it was announced that MTS failed to reach an agreement for the resumption of telecoms services, according to reports in the Russian press. However MTS will continue legal proceedings as well as following active negotiations with the Turkmen government, according to Oleg Raspopov, the vice-president of MTS. The operator reportedly considers the prospects of service resumption to be low.
Evidence points to the fact that the government does not plan to allow another operator, at least in the short term. The Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications was reported to be concluding contracts with Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Russian OSS vendor Eastern Wind. Huawei and NSN are reportedly in line to supply network equipment while Eastern Wind will provide technical support and expand the billing system, as well as preparing it for the introduction of VAS. At the same time, reports stated that Altyn Asyr was set to be privatised, although with no date set, this development is subject to considerable uncertainty.
We maintain our view that faced with the closure of MTS’ network, the majority of Turkmenistan’s mobile subscribers have had to seek SIM cards provided by the country’s sole remaining operator Altyn Asyr. The latter, which operates in the country under the TM-Cell brand, is now the de-facto monopoly mobile voice provider in Turkmenistan. However, there have also been reports of SIM card shortages and insufficient network capacity, as the monopoly stymies market development.
Central Asia Telecommunications SWOT
Table: Central Asia Risk/Reward Ratings, Q212
Industry Forecast Scenario
Table: Central Asia – Mobile Sector – Historical Data & Forecasts, 2009-2016
Table: Central Asia – Fixed Line Sector – Historical Data & Forecasts, 2009-2016
Table: Central Asia – Broadband Sector – Historical Data & Forecasts, 2009-2016
Market Data Analysis
Table: Kazakhstan Mobile Market, September 2011
Table: Kyrgyzstan Mobile Market, December 2011
Table: Tajikistan Mobile Market, December 2011
Table: Turkmenistan Mobile Market, December 2010
Table: Uzbekistan Mobile Market, December 2011
Regulatory Environment & Industry Developments
Kazakhstan: Regulatory Bodies And Their Responsibilities
Kyrgyzstan: Regulatory Bodies And their Responsibilities
Tajikistan: Regulatory Bodies And Their Responsibilities
Turkmenistan: Regulatory Bodies And Their Responsibilities
Uzbekistan: Regulatory Bodies And Their Responsibilities
Table: Key Players – Central Asia Telecoms Sector
Central And Eastern Europe Risk/Reward Ratings, Q212
Regional Telecommunications Penetration Overview
Table: Regional Fixed-Line Penetration Overview
Table: Regional Mobile Penetration Overview
Glossary Of Terms
Table: Glossary Of Terms
How We Generate Our Industry Forecasts
Table: Key Indicators For Telecommunications Industry Forecasts
Telecoms Business Environment Ratings
Risk/Reward Ratings Methodology
Table: Ratings Indicators
Table: Weighting Of Indicators
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