Kazakhstan has one of the most developed telecommunications sectors in the Central Asian region. This is especially true of the mobile segment, where widespread network coverage led to very high penetration rates, though in recent years the market has seen some rationalisation and with the declining number of multiple SIM cards in use the penetration rate fell from the high seen in 2012. The principal telcos have successfully generated revenue growth on the back of value-added services and the extended each of LTE and fibre networks. This has resulted in strong growth in mobile fixed line traffic, and in ARPU.
At the turn of the century, Kazakhstan had a relatively high fixed-line teledensity thanks to concerted efforts to invest in the fixed-line infrastructure and in next-generation networks. However, as with most developed telecom markets globally, demand for traditional voice services is on the wane as customers are increasingly attracted to the flexibility and ubiquity of the mobile platform for voice as well as data services.
Although the mobile segment dominates the telecom sector in Kazakhstan overall, there was a drop in the number of subscribers in 2020 as the economic effects of the pandemic told on household incomes. These effects also limited growth in 2021, though the easing of restrictions in 2022 resulted in a stronger recovery.
The extensive deployment of LTE networks across the country, and the launch of limited 5G services by Kcell in mid-2023 bodes well for a steady uptake of lucrative mobile broadband services.
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