Belarus - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Belarus government increases tax on telecom services to 25%

Belarus experience strong economic growth during the first years of the century, though this stalled during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2010. In recent years growth has continued to fall sharply, including an estimated 2.7% drop in GDP for 2016. Belarus continues to feel the effects of economic difficulties experienced by its main trading partners Ukraine and Russia. Although inflation has been brought down to more manageable levels since the hyper-inflationary year of 2011, when inflation reached 109%; inflation since then remains high while the value of the rouble has fallen in relation to other currencies, including the Euro.. This prompted the government to re-denominate the currency in July 2016, with BYR10,000 becoming BYN1. The poorly performing economy has impacted on operator revenue, particular for the subsidiaries of Turkcell and Telecom Austria. The ongoing economic difficulties have also reduced customer spend, contributing to lower revenue and investment.

Nevertheless, there remain many opportunities for growth in coming years, particularly in the broadband segment where the incumbent telco Beltelecom is migrating its PSTN network to a fibre-based network, and so will be better positioned to offer bundled services. Although the sector has been reformed in recent years, restructuring has not yet resulted in the privatisation of the incumbent Beltelecom, which continues to invest in infrastructure and technologies. Although the government is keen to control these assets, there is greater pressure for it to sell state enterprises in a bid to reduce overall debt. Growth for Beltelecom is expected to be particularly strong in the FttP sector, where much of the company’s capex is directed.

The mobile sector has experienced the strongest growth in telecoms, with a rapid rise in mobile penetration attributed to effective competition. Operators have concentrated on developing mobile broadband and data services with a view to capitalising on such services to increase ARPU. Recent spectrum auctions have facilitated the development of mobile broadband access, particularly in rural areas, while the operator beCloud, charged with developing a wholesale-based LTE network, has enabled commercial LE services to be launched by MNOs, though at present services are largely restricted to Minsk and some of the larger cities.

In early 2015 the government decreed that the 1.5% tax on revenue derived from telcos (which was put in place in 2007) should be channelled to developing telecom universe services, particularly aimed at rural areas. In mid-2016 the cash-strapped government increased the tax on all telecoms services from 20% to 25%.

Key developments:

  • BeST launches LTE services in Minsk;
  • Telco tax of 1.5% of revenue allocated to the provision of universal telecom services;
  • Belarus launches its first telecoms satellite;
  • Government increases VAT on telecom services to 25%;
  • Beltelecom signs up one million subscribers to its GPON network by October 2016;
  • Government again rejects plan to sell the state’s 51% interest in Mobile TeleSystems (MTS);
  • International transmission capacity growing in line with rising internet usage
  • MDC approaches 97% 3G coverage;
  • Report update includes the Ministry of Communications data to September 2016, operator data to Q3 2016, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Belarus’s telecoms sector – 2016 (e)

Market Penetration rate
Fixed-line telephony 49.3%
Fixed broadband 33.8%
Mobile SIM (population) 122.8%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Beltelecom, Cosmos TV, Minsk TV and Information Networks (MTIS), Teleradio, Belcel, MDC, MTS Belarus, BeST.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historical overview
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historic overview
    • 5.2 Regulatory authority
    • 5.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.4 Privatisation
    • 5.5 Interconnection
    • 5.6 Access
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Beltelecom
    • 6.2 Alternative Digital Network (ADN)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Satellite
  • 8. Smart infrastructure
  • 9. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
      • 9.1.1 Internet society
    • 9.2 Broadband statistics
    • 9.3 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2015; 2018; 2021
      • 9.3.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
    • 9.4 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 9.4.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 9.4.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 9.4.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 9.4.4 Other fixed broadband services
  • 10. Digital economy
    • 10.1 E-government
  • 11. Digital media
    • 11.1.1 Videostreaming
    • 11.1.2 Cable TV
    • 11.1.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • 11.2 Communications; VoIP
    • 12. Mobile market
      • 12.1 Market analysis
      • 12.2 Mobile statistics
        • 12.2.1 General statistics
        • 12.2.2 Mobile data
        • 12.2.3 Mobile broadband
      • 12.3 Regulatory issues
        • 12.3.1 Licensing
        • 12.3.2 Radio frequency usage fees
        • 12.3.3 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
        • 12.3.4 Roaming
        • 12.3.5 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 12.4 Mobile infrastructure
        • 12.4.1 Digital networks
        • 12.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
      • 12.5 Major mobile operators
        • 12.5.1 Belcel/Diallog
        • 12.5.2 Mobile Digital Communications (MDC)/velcom
        • 12.5.3 Mobile TeleSystems (MTS)
        • 12.5.4 BeST/life :)
        • 12.5.5 MVNOs
      • 12.6 Mobile content and applications
        • 12.6.1 Mobile TV
    • 13. Related reports
    • Table 1 – Country statistics - Belarus – 2016 (e)
    • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2016 (e)
    • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
    • Table 4 – Broadband subscriber statistics – 2016 (e)
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
    • Table 7 – Beltelecom subscribers by sector – 2011 - 2013
    • Table 8 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
    • Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2017
    • Table 10 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2016
    • Table 11 – ICT value add revenue and investment – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 12 – ICT revenue and investment – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 13 – Historic - Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2000 - 2009
    • Table 14 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2000 - 2017
    • Table 15 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2000 - 2017
    • Table 16 – Proportion of internet connections by type – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 17 – Proportion of internet connections by type among ICT organisations – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 18 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 19 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • Table 20 – DSL subscribers – 2004 - 2016
    • Table 21 – Beltelecom DSL subscribers – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 22 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2017
    • Table 23 – E-government interaction by companies – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 24 – IPTV subscribers – 2011 - 2017
    • Table 25 – Cable TV subscribers – 2011 - 2017
    • Table 26 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
    • Table 27 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
    • Table 28 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2017
    • Table 29 – Mobile number portings – 2012 - 2014
    • Table 30 – MDC financial data – 2007 – 2016
    • Table 31 – MDC postpaid, prepaid and blended annualised ARPU – 2007 – 2016
    • Table 32 – MDC subscribers, monthly minutes of use (MOU) – 2007 – 2016
    • Table 33 – MDC prepaid users and share of total – 2007 - 2016
    • Table 34 – MDC mobile broadband subscribers – 2012 – 2016
    • Table 35 – MTS Belarus subscribers – 2004 - 2016
    • Table 36 – MTS Belarus financial data – 2014 - 2016
    • Table 37 – MTS Belarus operational data and ARPU ($) – 2004 - 2009
    • Table 38 – MTS Belarus operational data and ARPU (RUB) – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 39 – BeST financial data ($) – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 40 – BeST financial data (BYR) – 2014 - 2016
    • Table 41 – BeST mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2016
    • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2017
    • Chart 2 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 – 2017
    • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2017
    • Chart 4 – MDC financial data – 2007 – 2016
    • Chart 5 – MDC prepaid users and share of total– 2007 – 2016

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