The Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2021


connections will be made on 5G across the region by 2025


smartphone adoption continues to rise steadily and is forecast to surpass 85% in six markets by 2025


invested by mobile operators in their networks between 2020 and 2025

The mobile industry in the CIS region has played a vital role in keeping citizens connected during the Covid-19 pandemic, with incentives such as offering call and data tariff discounts, providing free access to entertainment and healthcare services, and donating to national Covid-19 relief funds.
At the end of 2020, the CIS region was home to 238 million unique mobile subscribers, more than 70% of whom were accounted for by Russia and Ukraine. With good availability of lower-cost handsets, smartphone adoption continues to rise steadily and is forecast to surpass 85% in six markets by 2025.
The CIS region is now seeing an accelerating shift to mobile broadband. 4G cemented itself as the leading mobile technology in the region during 2020 and will account for two thirds of total connections by 2024.
In late 2020, the Russian government released a 5G roadmap, requiring operators to build 5G networks using locally produced equipment, risking delaying the launch of commercial 5G services in Russia until 2024 at the earliest. In the meantime, operators will shift focus to testing various use case for the enterprise and consumer segments. By 2025, the CIS region will be home to over 30 million 5G connections, equivalent to an adoption rate of 8%.
In a post-pandemic world, digital services and technologies will be vital to reinvigorate the CIS economy and rebuild businesses and communities. The rollout of mobile broadband can help spur socioeconomic growth and transform traditional industries. There has never been a more relevant time for governments to implement policy measures to stimulate investment in connectivity and address the barriers to internet use.

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