Ukraine’s competitive mobile market is dominated by the three network operators Vodafone Ukraine (owned by MTS and using the Vodafone brand name), Kyivstar (owned by VEON) and Lifecell (owned by Turkcell). The mobile subsidiary of the incumbent telco Ukrtelecom, trading as TriMob, has been considered for sale since SCM Group acquired Ukrtelecom in 2013: in January 2016 Vodafone Ukraine made a bid for the operator but this was withdrawn in the following October after the Antimonopoly Committee delayed making a determination on the deal.
These three dominant providers have effectively stymied the development of the MVNO sector by promoting their own low-cost subsidiaries. As a result, the MVNO market remains underdeveloped and few operators have been licensed thus far. Nevertheless, in coming years a gap in the low-cost segment may provide the opportunity for MVNOs to thrive.
Competition resulting from mobile number portability has also been stymied, exacerbated by the regulator having delayed its introduction as also by legal wrangles over operators charged with managing the database.
Mobile broadband services present a significant growth opportunity. Significant investment has been made in extending 3G infrastructure, while operators have more recently concentrated on LTE. Additional spectrum in the 2600MHz band was auctioned in January 2018, and of spectrum in the 1800MHz band in the following July, issued under 15-year licenses. All three MNOs promptly launched LTE services.
A continuing difficulty for MNOs remains the conflict with Russia, which has resulted in operators having to write-down the value of assets in disputed regions, and being forced out of Crimea as well as the Donetsk and other contested areas. Anti-Russian sentiment formed the backdrop for MTS Ukraine’s decision to rebrand as Vodafone.
This report presents a concise overview and analysis of Ukraine’s mobile market, offering a range of statistics as well as profiles of the key players and an assessment of mobile technology deployments.
Kyivstar, Ukrainian Radio Systems, Lifecell (Astelit), Vodafone Ukraine (MTS), Ukrtelecom.
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