Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
As of January 1, 2006, the number of mobile services subscribers totaled 4 mln. 90 thousand which is 1,7 times more than in January of 2005. The growth is slower compared with the same period in 2004, when the total number of subscribers increased by 2,2.
According to the deputy Minister of Communications and Informatization Ivan Rak, that indicates the fact that Belarusian market of mobile services is drawing near saturation. Yet, in 2005, the monthly growth of the number of subscribers totaled 137,8 thousand.
The level of mobile penetration is 42%, compared with 25% in the beginning of 2005.
At the same time, estimated capacity of mobile market in Belarus totals 5-5,5 mln. subscribers. That is why VAS and ARPU, as well as introduction of GSM - GPRS and EDGE technologies will become the major drivers for competition at the mobile market.
Ivan Rak emphasized that all Belarusian mobile operators are working within the framework of the state programme of rural development. According to the Programme Velcom and MTS were to cover 164 agrocities in 2005, and 200 more in 2006.
In 2005, MTS developed faster than its competitors, having increased the number of its subscribers by 74% (896 thousand) , i.e to 2 mln. 110 thousand. MTS network covers 57% of the territory of the country with 90% of population. The network consists of 1,2 thousand base stations.
Velcom connected 750 thousand clients (66% more). As of January 2006, it has 1 mln. 885 thousand subscribers. Velcom network (1132 base stations) covers 63% of the country's territory with 99% of the population.
Belcel (trademarks Diallog and NMT) and BeST lag behind the leaders of the market. BelCel has some 97 thousand subscribers (the 2005 growth totals 12 thousand). BeST started its operations on December 21, 2005. It networks covers only the territory of the Minsk city now.
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