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Mobile Operators and Networks

The Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the digital landscape in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region and elsewhere around the world. Though the situation remains challenging in many CIS markets, the mobile sector is taking measures to help society recover and to build more resilient economies.

At the end of 2020, the CIS region was home to 238 million unique mobile subscribers, more than 70% of whom were accounted for by Russia and Ukraine. Headroom for subscriber growth remains, with the most substantial gains set to materialise in relatively underpenetrated markets, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The CIS region is now seeing an accelerating shift to mobile broadband. 4G cemented itself as the leading mobile technology in the region during 2020 and remains a strategic priority for operators. Greater use of data-intensive services and demand for higher speeds will drive further adoption, with 4G accounting for two thirds of total connections by 2024. Meanwhile, the CIS region will be home to over 30 million 5G connections by 2025, equivalent to an adoption rate of 8%.

In 2020, mobile technologies and services generated 7% of GDP in the CIS region, amounting to almost $143 billion of economic value added. The mobile ecosystem also supported approximately 740,000 jobs and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with almost $13 billion raised through taxes on the sector. By 2025, mobile’s contribution will grow by around $17 billion (approaching $160 billion) as countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.

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