Ukraine’s telecom sector settles on back-office dealings to jolt the market

Ukraine’s telecom sector settles on back-office dealings to jolt the market

Despite the Ukraine government announcing grand plans in November 2020 to enable the commercial launch of 5G mobile services by the end of 2021 (including a spectrum auction slated for October), there has been remarkably little evidence of any progress being made towards putting those plans into action.

That includes near-radio silence on the details of the supposed forthcoming tender. Growth in the mobile sector is likely to remain stagnant for more time to come, while the market waits for the regulator and the three dominant MNOs to crawl towards making faster and more powerful services available for public consumption.

Most of the action with Ukraine’s telecom market has instead taken place behind the lines, with a range of M&A activity resulting in more consolidation or, in the case of Vodafone Ukraine, a role-reversal.

First up was telecommunications service provider Datagroup, which completed its acquisition of cableco Volia in June 2021. The combined entity now operates one of the largest fibre networks in the country, with a reach of more than four million households. Then in August 2021, Vodafone Ukraine reversed its position from 2015 when it had sold its fixed internet and fixed telephony operations in Odessa and Kyiv to Vega. The mobile operator instead acquired 99.9% of Vega, as well as the cableco Cable TV-Finance. In doing so, Vodafone Ukraine broadcast a clear intention to become a quadruple-play provider rather than solely one of the country’s three major MNOs.

This report includes the regulator's market data reports and telcos' financial and operating data updates to June 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, an assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, and other recent market developments.

Key developments:

  • The Ukrainian telecoms regulator NCCR reduced the MTR from UAH0.12 per minute to UAH0.08 per minute, effective from October 2020.
  • Kyivstar and Huawei trialled LTE using tri-band Carrier Aggregation (CA) technology in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz bands, achieving data speeds over 800Mb/s.
  • Vodafone Ukraine launched NB-IoT services in partnership with Danube Freight Company, Liana, and BTK-Tsent Komplekt.
  • All three MNOs (Lifecell, Kyivstar, and Vodafone Ukraine) joined together in an infrastructure sharing agreement to accelerate the deployment of LTE networks into rural areas. All three MNOs are expanding their LTE networks using newly available 900MHz spectrum.
  • Intertelecom has started closing down its CDMA-based wireless services due to its inability to meet the cost of LTE license fees required to proceed with a nationwide deployment.
  • Datagroup announced a $20 million network modernisation program in partnership with Cisco.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeComm, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeComm report:

Report title: Ukraine - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: September 2021

Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Number of pages: 153

Companies mentioned in this report: Ukrtelecom, Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine, Lifecell, Intertelecom, Datagroup, Eurotranstelecom, Vega, Volia Cable, TriMob, Triolan, PEOPLEnet.

Single User PDF Licence Price: US$1390

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