Belarus - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Belarus’s infrastructure programs result in two million GPON connections completed

Belarus’s government and telecom regulator have in place three five-year programs aimed at developing the telecom sector and digital economy. Considerable progress has been made as these programs, which run to 2020, approach the half-way stage. In particular, efforts have concentrated on enabling the mobile network operators to trial 5G services during the first half of 2019, while laying more than 10,000km of fibre cabling. By August 2018 almost two million GPON connections had been made as part of the programs.

These programs were initiated while the country experienced declining economic growth (in 2015 and 2016) and formed part of wider efforts to develop growth through promoting the digital economy. Growth returned in 2017 and 2018, while inflation has been brought under control (2011 was reported as hyper-inflationary). The fall of the Belarusian Ruble in relation to other currencies, including the Euro, prompted the government to re-denominate the currency in July 2016, with BYR10,000 becoming BYN1. The poorly performing economy impacted on operator revenue, particular for the subsidiaries of Turkcell and Telecom Austria. These economic difficulties also reduced customer spend, contributing to lower revenue and investment.

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 despite the government being pressed to sell state enterprises in a bid to reduce overall debt. Revenue growth for Beltelecom is expected to come from 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 LTE services to be launched by MNOs. beCloud is also charged with developing the network infrastructure to support 5G services.

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 telecom services from 20% to 25%, while a ‘Google tax’ was imposed from the beginning of 2018.

Key developments:

  • Beltelecom fibre network reaches two million premises;
  • E-Government facilities became interoperable;
  • MDC launches an NB-IoT service;
  • beCloud and Huawei 5G trials deliver data at 2Gb/s;
  • ‘Google tax’ imposed from early 2018;
  • Beltelecom closes down its dial-up internet and WiMAX services;
  • beCloud managing over 1,500 LTE base stations by September 2018;
  • Belarus launches its first telecoms satellite;
  • MDC begins deploying GPON networks;
  • Beltelecom completes almost two million GPON connections;
  • LTE use reaches 75% of mobile subscribers;
  • Report update includes the Ministry of Communications data to June 2018, operator data to Q2 2018, recent market developments.

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
  • 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 – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 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. Mobile market
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
      • 11.2.1 General statistics
      • 11.2.2 Mobile data
      • 11.2.3 Mobile broadband
    • 11.3 Regulatory issues
      • 11.3.1 Licensing
      • 11.3.2 Radio frequency usage fees
      • 11.3.3 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 11.3.4 Roaming
      • 11.3.5 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 11.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.4.1 5G developments
      • 11.4.2 4G (LTE)
      • 11.4.3 3G
      • 11.4.4 GSM
      • 11.4.5 Other infrastructure developments
    • 11.5 Major mobile operators
      • 11.5.1 Belcel/Diallog
      • 11.5.2 Mobile Digital Communications (MDC)/Velcom
      • 11.5.3 Mobile TeleSystems (MTS)
      • 11.5.4 BeST/life :)
      • 11.5.5 MVNOs
    • 11.6 Mobile content and applications
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 2 – Beltelecom subscribers by sector – 2011 - 2013
  • Table 3 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 5 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 6 – Broadband lines by data rate and platform – 2017 (Mar)
  • Table 7 – Broadband lines by data rate and platform – 2018 (Mar)
  • Table 8 – Historic - Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2000 - 2009
  • Table 9 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line and mobile internet subscribers, penetration – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 11 – Proportion of internet connections by type – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 12 – Proportion of internet connections by type among ICT organisations – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 14 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 15 – DSL subscribers – 2004 - 2018
  • Table 16 – Beltelecom DSL subscribers – 2008 - 2014
  • Table 17 – A1 Belarus fixed-line subscribers – 2016 - 2018
  • Table 18 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2018
  • Table 19 – ICT value add revenue and investment – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 20 – ICT revenue and investment – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 21 – E-government interaction by companies – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 22 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 23 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 24 – SMS traffic – 2007 - 2018
  • Table 25 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 26 – MTRs by operator – 2015 - 2018
  • Table 27 – Mobile number portings – 2012 - 2015
  • Table 28 – Mobile coverage by technology – June 2018
  • Table 29 – MDC financial data – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 30 – MDC postpaid, prepaid and blended annualised ARPU – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 31 – MDC subscribers, monthly minutes of use (MOU) – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 32 – MDC prepaid users and share of total – 2007 - 2018
  • Table 33 – MDC mobile broadband subscribers – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 34 – MDC M2M connections – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 35 – MTS Belarus subscribers – 2004 - 2018
  • Table 36 – MTS Belarus financial data – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 37 – MTS Belarus financial data (RUB) – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 38 – MTS Belarus operational data and ARPU ($) – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 39 – MTS Belarus operational data and ARPU (RUB) – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 40 – BeST financial data ($) – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 41 – BeST financial data (BYR) – 2015 - 2018
  • Table 42 – BeST financial data (Lira) – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 43 – BeST mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2018
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Internet users, subscribers and penetration rates – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – MDC financial data – 2007 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – MDC prepaid users and share of total– 2007 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – MTS Belarus financial data – 2014 – 2018

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