The Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2020


5G connections across the
region by 2025


smartphone adoption is expected by 2025
due to the availability and popularity of lower cost handsets


will be invested by operators in new infrastructure rollouts

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the digital landscape in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region and around the world. Mobile operators in the region have engaged with the public and private sectors on initiatives to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups and the most affected firms. Measures include zero-rated use of educational services and access to government websites, discounted tariffs for healthcare workers, and free access to online conferencing solutions to enable business continuity and support economic recovery.

Though later than many developed markets, the CIS region is now seeing an accelerating shift to mobile broadband. 4G remains a strategic priority, with network availability and performance key competitive dimensions. 4G overtook 2G as a proportion of connections in 2019 and became the leading mobile technology in the region during 2020. Greater use of data-intensive services and demand for higher speeds will drive further adoption, with 4G accounting for nearly two thirds of total connections by 2025. In certain countries, we expect this will also deliver some revenue uplift.

Further to this, in 2019, mobile technologies and services generated 6.1% of GDP in the CIS region – a contribution of $137 billion of economic value added. The mobile ecosystem supported over 830,000 jobs, either through direct employment or indirectly through activity in the wider economy, and contributed $14 billion to the funding of the public sector – mainly via general taxation. Over the coming years, 5G technologies will drive further contributions to the CIS economy, impacting key sectors such as manufacturing, utilities and professional & financial services.