Georgia continues to develop its economy in the face of considerable challenges, not least being a fractured political relationship with Russia and the continuing downturn in the Russian economy which has negatively impacted on its own growth potential. There are also difficulties related to breakaway regions which have been recognised by Russia, and in which Russian telcos are active. However, there is potential for economic growth from closer ties to Europe, while new pipelines running across the territory may lessen Georgia’s dependence on Russia for oil and gas supplies.
The slow economic growth has impacted on the country’s telecom sector. Revenue from fixed-line voice services has fallen sharply, while revenue from the mobile sector has also fallen in the wake of intense competition compounded by the fall in messaging traffic as subscribers migrate to alternative OTT services. The overall market is largely propped up by the broadband sector, where the number of subscribers continues to increase steadily. The sharp growth in the number of fibre broadband connections has impacted on the DS segment as customers are migrated from copper to fibre networks. This development reflects the significant increase in investment in infrastructure in recent years, spurred by the government’s national broadband plan.
Since 2003, telecommunications has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the Georgian economy. The share of telecommunications in the country’s GDP reached a high of 7%, though it fell to about 5.6% for 2015.
The penetration of active mobile subscribers was about 1120% by early 2017. Growth in mobile broadband is being encouraged following multi-spectrum auctions, including the award of additional spectrum in the 800MHz band in 2016 and spectrum in the 2100ooMHz band in 2017, which is being made available for LTE services. All three MNOs are investing to expand the reach and capabilities of their LTE infrastructures, which already provide more than 90% coverage.
|Penetration of telecoms services:||Penetration|
|Mobile SIM (population)||112%|
Caucasus Online, Georgia Online, United Telecom, Telecom Georgia, Egrisi, SaNet, SilkNet, Georgian Railway Telecom, Akhali Kselebi
Number of pages 43
Last updated 19 Apr 2017
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
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