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

Executive summary

Belarus’s wholesale mobile provider beCloud trialling 5G

Belarus’s economic growth has stalled in recent years, with GDP showing negative growth between 2015 and 2017. Although inflation has been brought down to more manageable levels since the hyper-inflationary year of 2011, it remains high while the value of the Ruble 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 local currency was devalued by 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016 alone. These 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. This will better position the company to offer a range of bundled services. Although the sector has been reformed, this has not yet resulted in the privatisation of the incumbent Beltelecom Although the government is keen to control the company’s assets, there is greater pressure for it to sell state enterprises generally in a bid to reduce overall debt. Growth for Beltelecom has been adversely affected by the poor economy, though growth is expected in the FttP sector, where much of the company’s capex is directed.

The mobile sector has also experienced some growth, with a rise in mobile penetration attributed to effective competition which has helped drive down consumer prices. 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 state-sponsored operator beCloud, charged with developing a wholesale-based LTE network, has enabled commercial LE services to be launched by MNOs.

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 universal telecom 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:

  • beCloud and Huawei 5G trials deliver data at 2Gb/s;
  • Telco tax of 1.5% of revenue allocated to the provision of universal telecom services;
  • Beltelecom closes down its dial-up internet and WiMAX services;
  • Belarus launches its first telecoms satellite;
  • MDC begins deploying GPON networks;
  • Beltelecom signs up one million subscribers to its GPON network;
  • 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;
  • LTE use reaches 60% of mobile subscribers;
  • Report update includes the Ministry of Communications data to March 2017, operator data to Q2 2017, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Belarus’s telecoms sector – 2016

Market Penetration rate
Fixed-line telephony 49.0%
Fixed broadband 33.3%
Mobile SIM (population) 124.1%

(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
    • 9.2 Broadband statistics
    • 9.3 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2028
      • 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 – 2017 (e)
    • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
    • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2016
    • Table 4 – Broadband subscriber statistics – 2017 (Jun)
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (Mar)
    • 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 - 2018
    • Table 10 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2016
    • Table 11 – Broadband lines by data rate and platform – 2017 (Mar)
    • Table 12 – Historic - Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2000 - 2009
    • Table 13 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2000 - 2017
    • Table 14 – Fixed-line and mobile internet subscribers, penetration – 2007 – 2016
    • Table 15 – Proportion of internet connections by type – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 16 – Proportion of internet connections by type among ICT organisations – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 17 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2018
    • Table 18 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • Table 19 – DSL subscribers – 2004 - 2017
    • Table 20 – Beltelecom DSL subscribers – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 21 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2018
    • Table 22 – ICT value add revenue and investment – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 23 – ICT revenue and investment – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 24 – E-government interaction by companies – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 25 – IPTV subscribers – 2011 - 2017
    • Table 26 – Cable TV subscribers – 2011 - 2017
    • Table 27 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
    • Table 28 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 29 – SMS traffic – 2007 - 2017
    • Table 30 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2018
    • Table 31 – Mobile number portings – 2012 - 2015
    • Table 32 – MDC financial data – 2007 – 2017
    • Table 33 – MDC postpaid, prepaid and blended annualised ARPU – 2007 – 2017
    • Table 34 – MDC subscribers, monthly minutes of use (MOU) – 2007 – 2017
    • Table 35 – MDC prepaid users and share of total – 2007 - 2017
    • Table 36 – MDC mobile broadband subscribers – 2012 – 2017
    • Table 37 – MDC M2M connections – 2015 – 2017
    • Table 38 – MTS Belarus subscribers – 2004 - 2017
    • Table 39 – MTS Belarus financial data – 2014 - 2017
    • Table 40 – MTS Belarus operational data and ARPU ($) – 2004 - 2009
    • Table 41 – MTS Belarus operational data and ARPU (RUB) – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 42 – BeST financial data ($) – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 43 – BeST financial data (BYR) – 2014 - 2016
    • Table 44 – BeST financial data (Lira) – 2015 - 2016
    • Table 45 – BeST mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
    • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
    • Chart 2 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 – 2017
    • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
    • Chart 4 – MDC financial data – 2007 – 2017
    • Chart 5 – MDC prepaid users and share of total– 2007 – 2017

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