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Tajikistan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 22 Jun 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 80

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

World Bank critical of Tajikistan's telecom sector

Of all the former Soviet republics, Tajikistan’s telecommunications infrastructure was arguably the least developed. With a telecom network that was near total collapse, the government had the daunting task of bringing it up to modern standards. Despite the launch of 4G/LTE services, the overall the telecom sector has continued to struggle. Tajikistan still has one of the lowest fixed-line penetrations in the Asian region and one of the lowest broadband levels of broadband penetration.

Tajikistan’s mobile sector has been on a strong growth path for over a decade. It continues to be the standout feature of the country’s telecom industry. However, as the market has moved closer to a saturation phase there has been an inevitable reduction in the growth rate and. only moderate growth is predicted over the next five years.

There are five major operators in the market: Tcell, Babilon Mobile, MegaFon, ZET Mobile (registered as Tacom) and TK Mobile. Tcell has the largest overall market share, followed by Babilon Mobile, Megafon, ZET Mobile and TK Mobile.

Fixed broadband penetration in Tajikistan remains extremely low, mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines as well as the dominance of the mobile platform. Market penetration has only grown marginally over the last five years from a very small base. Over the next five years growth is expected to continue but overall market penetration will remain extremely low.

Tajikistan has seen a strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past four years, though the market is still at an early stage of development and penetration remains relatively low compared to other Asian nations. Steady growth is predicted over the next five years, supported by the rising number of mobile subscribers, and increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they roll out their 4G networks. Tariffs should improve due to strong competition, though the regulator has imposed SMP conditions on all operators, which makes it difficult for them to adjust tariffs to suit market conditions.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Government orders mandatory registration of all mobile devices;
  • MegaFon Tajikistan launches 5G network in Dushanbe;
  • ZET Mobile sets up LTE-based smart city concept in Dushanbe;
  • Telecom sector continues to struggle, with one of the lowest internet data rates globally;
  • Report update includes an assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

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