Volume of telecom services provided in Russia increased by 6.8% in March 2021

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AK&M 17 May 2021 08:49

In March 2021, the volume of communication services provided to enterprises of all activity types reached RUB 184.3 billion, which is 6.8% above March 2020 and 1.9% above the February 2021 result, according to the latest issue (No. 1422) of AK&M Information Agency's "RUSSIAN INDUSTRIES: PRODUCTION, FINANCE, SECURITIES published on May 12, 2021.

In the first quarter of 2021, the volume of communication services amounted to RUB 569.3 billion, which is 9.1% above the result achieved in January-March 2020. In March 2021, paid communication services to the population amounted to RUB 111 billion decreasing by 3.3% vs March 2020, by 0.1% against the previous month. In January-March 2021, the volume of communication services provided to the population decreased by 2.1%.

The market of pay TV and online streaming services increased significantly amid the pandemic. According to a study by IAA TelecomDaily, the total number of pay TV subscribers in Russia increased by 817 thousand to reach 44.847 million households at the end of 2020. The number of new contracts increased by 310 thousand quarter-on-quarter, by 25% against the 2019 numbers. According to TelecomDaily, the market volume of legal online video services increased by 52% to RUB 38.942 billion year-on-year in 2020. Analysts estimated the penetration of pay TV services at 81% at the end of 2020.

The sovereign Internet law was applied in practice for the first time in March. The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) announced the slowing down of Twitter traffic because of massive violations. According to the federal service, Twitter has not removed materials with illegal information since 2017. Roskomnadzor sent more than 28,000 requests for removal of such information, but 3,168 materials, including underage suicide calls, currently remain accessible. For this reason, Twitter was made subject to an initial bandwidth throttling "according to the regulations". However, most users did not complain about slower access, only about some image loading errors. At the same time, other telecom operators came across systemic failures as Roskomnadzor's equipment was launched.

In early May, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) approved the application of Rostelecom, its subsidiary Bashinformsvyaz, VimpelCom and MegaFon for an agreement on joint activities in rolling out networks of the new 5G standard. The agreement is aimed at using the frequencies in the 3.4-3.6 GHz band already distributed among the transaction participants that were previously used to provide WiMAX-based Internet access services.

For a more detailed review, see issue No. 1422 of the "RUSSIAN INDUSTRIES: PRODUCTION, FINANCE, SECURITIES. Telecommunications" monthly paper issued on May 12, 2021. The paper reviews the Russian communications and telecommunications market, including mobile and broadband Internet services, digital TV and online cinema theatres, the Russian regulatory framework and legal innovations influencing the industry, the industry's performance as a whole, innovative strategies and activity priorities for the Big Four operators, including the 5G and MVNO segments, as well as their tariff policies. This is complemented by a brief overview of the stock market and an M&A update, as well as news of the leading industry players.