Georgia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Georgia’s MagtiCom breaks into the quad play market

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.

Mobile penetration broached 130% by mid-2016. Further growth in mobile broadband is anticipated following the recent multi-spectrum auction, as well as the award of additional spectrum in the 800MHz band in 2016. Spectrum is being made available for LTE services, and the three MNOs are all investing to expand the reach and capabilities of their LTE infrastructures. In mid-2016 MagtiCom claimed that its LTE-A network provided 90% territorial coverage. Mobile networks are crucial for the provision of voice and data services given that fixed-line networks in many parts of the country remain outdated (particularly in rural and remote areas).

Key developments:

  • Mediafon Datapro awarded contract to manage number portability database;
  • MagtiCom offering fixed-line services following acquisition of the ISP Caucasus Online;
  • Turkcell submits bid for TeliaSonera’s 58.55% stake in Fintur Holdings;
  • Regulator awards spectrum in the 800MHz band to MagtiCom, which it now uses for LTE-A services;
  • Caucasus Online contracts TE SubCom to upgrade the Caucasus Cable system, to support data of over 9Tb/s;
  • MagtiCom claiming 90% geographic coverage with LTE-A services.

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

Penetration of telecoms services: Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 19%
Fixed broadband 15.3%
Mobile SIM (population) 133%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Caucasus Online, Georgia Online, United Telecom, Telecom Georgia, Egrisi, SaNet, SilkNet, Georgian Railway Telecom, Akhali Kselebi

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
    • 3.1 Economy
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
    • 5.2 Privatisation
    • 5.3 Numbering changes
    • 5.4 Number Portability (NP)
    • 5.5 Licensing and auctions – background information
    • 5.6 Illegal operations
    • 5.7 Call termination
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 United Telecom (formerly Sakartvelos Elektrokavshiri)
    • 6.2 Telecom Georgia (Sakartvelos Telekomi)
    • 6.3 NewNet Telecommunications (Akhali Kselebi)
    • 6.4 Egrisi
    • 6.5 Georgian Railway Telecom (GRT)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 Forecasts – fixed-line subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 7.3 International infrastructure
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Broadband statistics
    • 8.2 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 8.3 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.3.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 8.3.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 8.3.3 Other fixed broadband services
  • 9. Digital media
  • 10. Mobile market
    • 10.1 Market analysis
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
    • 10.3 Mobile data
      • 10.3.1 SMS and MMS
    • 10.4 Mobile broadband
    • 10.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 10.6 Regulatory issues
      • 10.6.1 Georgia’s unrecognised operators
      • 10.6.2 Frequency auctions
      • 10.6.3 Mobile Number Portability 9MNP)
    • 10.7 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.7.1 Digital networks
    • 10.8 Major mobile operators
      • 10.8.1 Geocell
      • 10.8.2 MagtiCom
      • 10.8.3 Mobitel (Beeline)
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Georgia – 2016 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2016 (Jun)
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Georgia’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Telecom market revenue – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Fixed lines by major operator – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Historic - Fixed lines in service, annual change and penetration – 1995 - 2009
  • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service, annual change and penetration – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Forecast - fixed line subscriptions – 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 15 – International internet bandwidth capacity – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 16 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 - 2009
  • Table 17 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 18 – Fixed-line internet subscribers and penetration – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 19 – Household internet penetration – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 20 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 21 – Broadband market revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 22 – Fixed broadband subscribers by major operator – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 23 – Forecast - fixed broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 24 – DSL subscribers – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 25 – Caucasus Online internet revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 26 – SilkNet internet revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 27 – FttP subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 28 – WiMAX subscribers – 2010 – 2016
  • Table 29 – Wi-Fi subscribers – 2012 – 2016
  • Table 30 – TV subscribers by platform – 2011 - 2015
  • Table 31 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 32 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 33 – Mobile market revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 34 – SMS traffic – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 35 – MMS traffic – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 36 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 37 – EVDO/CDMA internet subscribers – 2012 – 2016
  • Table 38 – Forecast – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 39 – Mobile number portings – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 40 – SilkNet mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 41 – SilkNet mobile revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 42 – Mobile market share by operator – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 43 – Geocell subscribers – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 44 – Geocell mobile revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 45 – MagtiCom subscribers – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 46 – MagtiCom mobile revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 47 – Mobitel – total mobile subscribers – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 48 – Mobitel – mobile broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2013
  • Table 49 – MagtiCom mobile revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service, annual change and penetration - 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 2 - Internet users, annual change and penetration rate - 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 3 - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 4 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 – 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – United Telecom’s Tbilisi network infrastructure

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