Mobile Operators Set to Invest $25bn in Infrastructure Across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Region

Mobile technologies and services contributed $137b to region’s GDP in 2019

11 November 2020, London: The latest GSMA Intelligence report, ‘Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2020’, forecasts that there will be 52 million 5G connections across the region by 2025, representing a 13% adoption rate.  Underlying this growth is operator investments, expected to be more than $25b in new infrastructure rollouts, of which 57% will be for high-performance 5G networks.

Other highlights from the ‘Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2020’ report include:

  • 4G became the region’s leading mobile technology in 2020 and will account for 65% of total connections by 2025
  • Smartphone adoption is set to reach 81% by 2025 due to the availability and popularity of lower cost handsets
  • The mobile ecosystem employed over 830,000 people in the region in 2019 and contributed $14b to public sector funding
  • The CIS region will add almost 330 million new IoT connections by 2025, with smart home and smart buildings two key growth areas

The research has been published to coincide with GSMA Thrive Eurasia, a virtual event on 11-12 November, that will explore the major themes shaping the region’s mobile industry. Topics to be discussed include the move towards high-speed digital services and the need for networks capable of supporting AI and IoT-driven solutions. MTS Group is the lead sponsor of the conference, which will also explore the challenges affecting the region’s fintech sector, how spectrum allocation will shape the outlook for 5G, value creation and, the opportunities created by increased urbanisation.

“As mobile operators continue to enhance connectivity – through expansion of 4G and laying the foundation for 5G – the CIS region is reaping concrete benefits in economic growth and social development through improved commerce, communication and service delivery,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted, like never before, the importance of access to fast and reliable connectivity in driving a resilient and inclusive digital economy, underpinned by a wide range of digital services for individuals and businesses across the region.”

A primary constraint on the CIS region’s ability to reap the full benefits of 5G is the availability of spectrum. Currently, certain frequencies earmarked for 5G remain out of reach of operators, putting at risk the region’s digital vision and the potential of IoT. The GSMA believes that policymakers should play a leading role in making 5G a reality, which includes the development of a comprehensive roadmap for the release and renewal of spectrum. Ensuring the effective management of valuable spectrum resources will be crucial to providing certainty, encouraging investment and, maximising the opportunities that next-generation mobile connectivity can bring to the region.

Attendance for GSMA Thrive Eurasia is free. Click here to register for the event.

To download the ‘Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2020’ report, click here:

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About GSMA Intelligence

GSMA Intelligence is the definitive source of global mobile operator data, analysis and forecasts. Its data includes industry metrics updated daily comprising 30 million data points from operator groups, networks and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) worldwide. A team of 40 analysts and experts at GSMA Intelligence publish more than 130 authoritative industry reports. Research topics include 5G, IoT, media convergence and mobile trends. For more information, please visit and follow GSMA Intelligence on Twitter: @GSMAi

About GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, AfricaLos Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Thrive Series of regional conferences.