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Slower growth in Tajikistan’s mobile market and fixed broadband penetration remains very low
Of all the former Soviet republics, Tajikistan’s telecommunications infrastructure was arguably the least developed. With a telecom network that was near total collapse, the government has had the daunting task of bringing it up to modern standards. Telecommunications has become one of the most dynamically developing sectors within the Tajikistan economy.
Tajikistan’s mobile sector has been on a strong growth path for over a decade. It continues to be the standout feature of the country’s telecom industry. Tajikstan’s mobile market has experienced relatively strong growth over the last five years. However as the market has moved closer to a saturation phase there has been an inevitable slowing in the growth rate. Market penetration reached 100% in 2016. Market penetration is to grow at a slower rate over the next five years to 2021. There are five major operators in the market: Tcell, Babilon Mobile, MegaFon, Tacom / Beeline and TK Mobile. Tcell has the largest overall market share with over 30%
Despite the recent launch of 4G/LTE services, the overall the telecom sector has continued to struggle. Tajikistan has one of the lowest fixed-line teledensities in the region and one of the lowest broadband levels of broadband penetration. Internet penetration stood at around 21% in Tajikistan by 2016, increasing from 17.5% in 2014 and 19% in 2015. Fixed line penetration in Tajikistan remains low at around 5.3%. It has been growing at a very slow rate over the past few years due to the dominance of wireless markets.
Fixed broadband subscriptions in Tajikistan stood at a lowly 0.07% penetration by 2016 increasing only marginally from 0.06% in 2011. Further slow growth in anticipated over the next five years as 4G rollouts continue and there is an increased dependence by consumers on wireless networks. Market penetration is predicted to remain low over the next five years to 2021.
Note: It is pointed out that there are considerable inconsistencies with the market statistics available for Tajikistan as well as the total absence of statistics for some indicators
- Telia signed an agreement to sell its 60% holding in Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED).
- Babilon-Mobile informed its customers that it will begin re-registering all existing SIM cards on its network. All other cellcos in the country are expected to follow suit.
- VimpelCom Ltd partnered with ZTE Corporation to build a complete virtual network infrastructure providing 4G/3G/2G mobile data services to customers across five markets.
- Babilon-M expanded the coverage of its LTE network outside of capital city Dushanbe. New cities covered by the expansion include Khujand, Qurghonteppa and Kulob.