Georgia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Georgia’s Mobitel secures spectrum in the 2100MHz band at auction

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.

Key developments:

  • Mobitel secures spectrum in the 2100MHz band at auction;
  • Mediafon Datapro awarded contract to manage number portability database;
  • MagtiCom offering fixed-line services following acquisition of the ISPs Caucasus Online and Deltacom;
  • Regulator awards spectrum in the 800MHz band to MagtiCom, used for LTE-A services;
  • Caucasus Online contracts TE SubCom to upgrade the Caucasus Cable system, supporting data of over 9Tb/s;
  • MagtiCom claiming 90% geographic coverage with LTE-A services;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s annual report for 2015, market statistics to February 2017.

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 SilkNet (formerly United Telecom)
    • 6.2 Telecom Georgia (Sakartvelos Telekomi)
    • 6.3 NewNet Telecommunications (Akhali Kselebi)
    • 6.4 Egrisi
    • 6.5 Georgian Railway Telecom (GRT)
    • 6.6 MagtiCom
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Broadband statistics
    • 8.2 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 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 – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 10.6 Regulatory issues
      • 10.6.1 Unrecognised operators
      • 10.6.2 Frequency auctions
      • 10.6.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 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)
      • 10.8.4 SilkNet
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Georgia – 2016 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2017 (Feb)
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2017 (Feb)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (Feb)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Georgia’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Market penetration rates in Georgia’s telecoms sector – 2017 (Feb)
  • Table 9 – Telecom market revenue – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Fixed number portings – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 11 – Fixed line subscribers by major operator – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Historic - Fixed lines in service, annual change and penetration – 1995 - 2009
  • Table 13 – Fixed lines in service, annual change and penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 14 – Fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line revenue – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line revenue by technology – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line voice traffic by technology – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 18 – International internet bandwidth capacity – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 19 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 - 2009
  • Table 20 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 21 – Fixed-line internet subscribers and penetration – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 22 – Household internet penetration – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 23 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2018
  • Table 24 – Broadband market revenue – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 25 – Fixed broadband subscribers by major operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 26 – Forecast - fixed broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
  • Table 27 – DSL subscribers – 2008 - 2017
  • Table 28 – Caucasus Online internet subscribers – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 29 – Caucasus Online internet revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 30 – SilkNet internet subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 31 – SilkNet internet revenue – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 32 – FttP subscribers – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 33 – Wi-Fi subscribers – 2010 – 2017
  • Table 34 – WiMAX subscribers – 2010 – 2017
  • Table 35 – TV subscribers by platform – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Broadcasting revenue by platform – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 37 – Cable TV penetration – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 38 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 39 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 40 – Active mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 41 – Mobile market retail revenue – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 42 – SMS traffic – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 43 –SMS revenue – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 44 – MMS traffic – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 45 –MMS revenue – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 46 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 47 – HSPA/EVDO internet subscribers – 2010 – 2017
  • Table 48 – EVDO/CDMA internet subscribers – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 49 – LTE internet subscribers – 2014 – 2017
  • Table 50 – Standard mobile internet subscribers – 2012 – 2016
  • Table 51 – Mobile internet traffic – 2010 – 2015
  • Table 52 – Forecast – mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
  • Table 53 – Mobile number portings – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 54 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 55 – Geocell subscribers – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 56 – Geocell mobile revenue – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 57 – MagtiCom subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 58 – MagtiCom mobile revenue – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 59 – Mobitel mobile subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 60 – Mobitel standard mobile internet subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 61 – MagtiCom mobile revenue – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 62 – SilkNet mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 63 – SilkNet mobile revenue – 2012 - 2017
  • Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service, annual change and penetration - 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 2 - Internet users, annual change and penetration rate - 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 3 - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Active mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2010 – 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – United Telecom’s Tbilisi network infrastructure

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

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