Regulatory Agency: Minsvyaz
RUSSIAN MOBILE OPERATORS:
Beeline Russia (VimpelCom)
MegaFon (Telecom-invest, TeliaSonera & Alfa Group)
MTS (Mobile TeleSystems)
New Telephone Company
Nizhni Novgorod Telecom
Sotovaja Svjaz MOTIV (Jekatrinburg)
Tele2 Russia (Tele2)
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RUSSIAN OPERATORS IN FIXED TELEPHONY:
Moscow City Telephone Network
North West Telecom
The Russian telecom market is the largest in Europe, supported by a population of about 143.5 million. The country’s ongoing economic woes, partly resulting from difficulties associated with a range of sanctions related to the annexation of Ukraine, have impacted growth in the telecom sector.
The market is dominated by the western regions where the main cities and economic centres are concentrated. All sectors have been liberalised, with competition most prevalent in Moscow and St Petersburg. The former holding company for Russia’s incumbent telecom operators, Svyazinvest, has emerged as Rostelecom, with most regional players absorbed into the operator. Rostelecom subsequently merged its mobile business with Tele2 Russia, which launched mobile services in the important Moscow market in October 2015.
Telcos continue to deploy and modernise fixed-line network infrastructure to offer improved broadband services as well as a range of IP-delivered content. The government is investing billions of Rubles in a 200,000km telecom network which will provide a broadband service of at least 10Mb/s to thousands of underserved villages. Rostelecom has been contracted to undertake and manage the work.
Russia has also emerged as one of Europe’s fastest growing markets for fibre-based broadband, with Rostelecom’s own fibre broadband access network covering more than 33 million premises. By the end of 2016 some 60% of the company’s broadband subscribers were on its fibre infrastructure.
The number of mobile subscriptions has passed 230 million, while SIM card penetration is high, at around 162% by early 2017. Several mobile network operators are active, although the market is dominated by four major operators (MTS, VimpelCom, Tele2 Russia/Rostelecom and MegaFon). These have expanded their footprints widely through the acquisition of smaller regional service providers. Tele2 Russia has undergone several changes of ownership in recent years, becoming a significant player following its merger with Rostelecom.
Competition in the key markets of Moscow and St Petersburg is fierce, due to the size of the cities’ populations and the higher concentration of wealth there. Tele2 Russia launched services in Moscow in late 2015 and has steadily gained market share.