At the end of 2017, there were 232 million unique mobile subscribers in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), equating to a penetration rate of 80% of the population. The CIS region is relatively diverse, with the headline numbers masking markets at different stages of development. Russia dominates the region; not only is it the largest country but it is also the one with the most developed mobile market. The three largest markets, Russia, the Ukraine and Uzbekistan, together account for 80% of the region’s total subscriber base.
Led by the move to 4G, the CIS region is continuing to see a rapid shift to mobile broadband. Together with rapid growth in smartphone adoption over the coming years, this will fuel an explosion in data traffic. Mobile operators in the CIS region, as in most of the developed world, are also innovating and evolving beyond traditional mobile communications. They are increasingly exploring key opportunities in areas such as the Internet of Things, e-commerce and blockchain.