Kyrgyzstan - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Kyrgyzstan sees strong growth in the mobile broadband market

The telecommunications sector in Kyrgyzstan has been generally characterised by an open market that welcomes both foreign and domestic investors. This has been effectively done in accordance with the requirements set down by the WTO. Despite the market being ‘fully competitive’ there remained more to be done on the regulatory front to take full advantage of the reforms already in place. There also remains a culture of poor transparency in some aspects of corporate behaviour; this needs to be addressed if the telecom market is to reach its full potential.

The telecom sector has been part of the final phase of a large scale privatisation program that has been steadily progressing in the country since 1992.

The start of market reforms saw the state telecommunications agency, Kyrgyztelecom, begin to expand and upgrade its legacy telecom network, which at the time was out-dated and poorly distributed. With the expansion of the telecoms sector, upgraded standards have been adopted. At the same time, a new regulatory authority – the National Communications Agency which later became known as the National Agency for Information Resources, Technologies and Communication - was set up to oversee the sector. At an early stage, Kyrgyztelecom was restructured as a public corporation and the government moved towards a partial sale of the operator to the private sector. Around 10% of the company quickly passed into private hands. After a series of failed attempts to sell off the government shareholding, the government continued to hold almost 78% of Kyrgyztelecom.

In the meantime, private operators, which actively function in the mobile market and in the provision of internet services, have been actively investing in the necessary infrastructure. The two big GSM operators – Sky Mobile (Beeline) and MegaCom – have continued to dominate the market, claiming around 75% of the total mobile subscriber base between them. They have been joined by Nur Telecom;

The mobile subscriber growth rate in 2015 and 2016 was a flat 0.2% as the market reached 7,595,000 subscribers in 2016. The mobile market is now mature. Further slow growth is also predicted over the next five years to 2021. Mobile broadband continues to grow strongly. The 4G mobile market is slowing growing as major operators launch services.

Over the past few years there has been particularly strong growth in mobile broadband subscriptions. This phenomenon is rapidly changing the shape of the internet market. The active mobile broadband subscriber penetration reached 33% in 2016.

During 2012 to 2016 the internet penetration in Kyrgzstan has been increasing steadily, increasing from 23% in 2012 to 30% in 2015 and 32% in 2016. The percentage of households with the internet has risen from 8.7% in 2013 to 16.5% in 2016.

Fixed broadband penetration continues to grow strongly but from a very small base. It reached 4.4% in 2016, up from 2.4% in 2013 and 0.9% in 2012.

The international internet bandwidth has risen significantly over the last five years rising from 1,200 Mb/s in 2010 to 12,700 in 2015.

Key developments:

  • Nur Telecom expanded its LTE coverage to the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad, adding to its existing coverage in Bishkek and Naryn.
  • Megacom launched its 4G LTE network in the cities of Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad.
  • Sky Mobile introduced its 4G LTE network to all regions across the country.
  • The NCA disconnected all non-registered SIMs from 1 February 2016.
  • The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) proposed to postpone the introduction of MNP to 2018.
  • VimpelCom Ltd partnered with ZTE Corporation to build a complete virtual network infrastructure providing 4G/3G/2G mobile data services.
  • Kyrgyzstan relaunched an auction for defunct CDMA company Zheti Mobile.
  • Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to complete the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key Statistics
  • 3. Country overview
    • 3.1.1 Background
    • 3.1.2 Economy
    • 4. Telecommunications market
      • 4.2 Market Overview and Analysis
      • 4.3 Historical overview
        • 4.3.1 Government Projects
        • 4.3.2 MegaCom scandal
    • 5. Regulatory environment
      • 5.1 Regulatory authority
        • 5.1.1 Kyrgyz National Communications Agency
      • 5.2 Regulatory developments
        • 5.2.1 SIM registration
        • 5.2.2 Spectrum Auction
    • 6. Fixed network operators
      • 6.1 Kyrgyztelecom
        • 6.1.1 Privatisation of Kyrgyztelecom
      • 6.2 Others
    • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
      • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
        • 7.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
        • 7.1.2 Forecasts – Fixed-Line Market – 2016; 2018; 2021
        • 7.1.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
      • 7.2 International infrastructure
        • 7.2.1 Satellites
        • 7.2.2 Optical fibre cable systems
    • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
      • 8.1 Overview
      • 8.2 Internet development
      • 8.3 Internet statistics
      • 8.4 ISP market
      • 8.5 Broadband statistics
      • 8.6 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
        • 8.6.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
      • 8.7 Fixed-line broadband technologies
        • 8.7.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
        • 8.7.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 9. Mobile market
      • 9.1 Market Overview and Analysis
      • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.3 Mobile broadband
      • 9.4 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • 9.5 Mobile Regulatory issues
        • 9.5.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 9.6 Digital networks
        • 9.6.1 Developments
        • 9.6.2 LTE
    • 10. Major mobile operators
      • 10.1.1 MegaCom (BiMoCom Ltd)
      • 10.1.2 Sky Mobile (Beeline)
      • 10.1.3 Zheti Mobile / Aktel
      • 10.1.4 Nur Telecom (O!)
      • 10.1.5 Katel
      • 10.1.6 KT Mobile
      • 11. Broadcasting
        • 11.2 Overview
        • 11.3 Broadcasting statistics
      • 12. Related reports
      • Table 1 – Country statistics Kyrgyzstan – 2016
      • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2016
      • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
      • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 7 – National telecommunications authorities
      • Table 8 – Kyrgyzstan’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 9 – Fixed lines in service, annual change and teledensity – 1991 - 2016
      • Table 10 – Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rates – 2011 - 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Table 11 – Internet users – 1998 - 2016
      • Table 12 – International internet bandwidth – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 13 – Households with internet – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 14 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 15 – Fibre-based internet subscribers – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 16 – Forecast fixed broadband internet subscribers and penetration rates – 2010 - 2016; 2018; 2011
      • Table 17 – Cable modem subscribers – 2004 - 2015
      • Table 18 – DSL subscribers – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 19 – Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
      • Table 20 – Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate – 1998 - 2016
      • Table 21 – Mobile operators (historical) - subscribers and annual change – June 2014
      • Table 22 – Mobile operators (historical) – subscribers and market share – September 2014
      • Table 23 – Mobile broadband subscribers (active) – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 24 – Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates – 2011 - 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Table 25 – MegaCom subscribers – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 26 – Sky Mobile subscribers – 2007 - 2014
      • Table 27 – Sky Mobile - ARPU – 2005; 2011 - 2014
      • Table 28 – Aktel (Fonex) subscribers – 2007 – 2011; 2014
      • Table 29 – Nur Telecom (O!) - subscribers – 2013 - 2014
      • Table 30 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2015
      • Table 31 – Historical - Terrestrial multichannel TV subscribers – 2005 - 2013
      • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service, annual change and teledensity – 1991 - 2016
      • Chart 2 – Fixed line forecast – 2011 - 2021
      • Chart 3 – Internet users – 2004 - 2016
      • Chart 4 – Forecast fixed broadband penetration rates 2010 - 2021
      • Chart 5 – Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate – 1998 - 2016

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      Number of pages 37

      Status Current

      Last updated 2 Aug 2016
      Update History

      Lead Analyst: Phil Harpur

      Contributing Analysts:

      Peter Evans

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