Uzbekistan proceeds with 2030 digital plan
For many years Uzbekistan has been struggling to bring its telecommunications system up to the standard found in developed countries.
Over the last decade the situation has been improving gradually, and as a consequence there has been a positive trend in the country’s telecom market, with increased investment in infrastructure, expanding subscriber bases and rising revenue. The support of the government, which has formulated a telecom sector policy through to 2030, will be key in the development of the country’s needed infrastructure.
The fixed line market in Uzbekistan remains underdeveloped. A major reason for this is the dominance of the mobile segment, which has stymied fixed-line investment. The market is predicted to grow only moderately over the next five years.
Fixed broadband penetration also remains low, mainly due to the limited number of fixed lines and the preference for consumers to use the mobile platform for data services. Nevertheless, the highly competitive nature of the ISP market has resulted in lower access prices and the provision of flexible packages. The introduction of prepaid internet has also contributed to the rise in home internet usage. As a result, the market has grown strongly over the past five years, albeit from a low base.
Uzbekistan’s mobile market is relatively underdeveloped by international standards, with only slow growth recorded over the last five years. During the next few years the market will be constrained from higher growth due to the cost of mobile services relative to the low income of most of the population.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. 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:
Companies mentioned in this report:
- Wi-Fi services extended across much of Tashkent;
- Government promotes telecom plan through to 2030;
- Uzbekistan’s relatively underdeveloped mobile market still under cost pressures;
- MITC requests operators and vendors to share 5G plans, budgets and capacities;
- Report update includes an assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, operator data to Q3 2020, recent market developments.
Uzbektelecom, UzMobile, Buzton, Buztel, East Telecom, Uzdunrobita, MTS-Uzbekistan, Universal Mobile Systems (UMS), Beeline (Unitel), UCell (Coscom), Vimpelcom.