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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/20/2013 -- While potential remains across a number of the markets in Central Asia, events in Uzbekistan highlight the significant downside risks that persist in the region, ultimately stunting investment. High levels of political risk have forced MTS out of Uzbekistan, and, with bribery claims surrounding TeliaSonera's acquisition of a 3G licence, the operator is rumoured to be exiting the region. Government intervention in Central Asia is pervasive, with many operators owned by the state and a lack of independent regulators and transparency. With the opportunity for a new player to enter the Uzbekistan market, it will be interesting to follow whether operators are willing to take on such risk exposure. Many segments remain underserved but growth of wireless data demand has driven investment in network infrastructure. It is unlikely that fixed-line voice and fixed internet will see similar investment over our forecast period.
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- Kyrgyzstan mobile operator reached 1mn subscriptions in July 2013, around four years after launch.
- Revenue breakdown for Kazakhtelecom's Q213 shows that broadband and IPTV services are beginning to account for an increasingly larger proportion.
Key Trends And Developments
Kazakhtelecom's (KT) mobile subsidiary Altel published new dates for the closure of its Jet-branded 3G network. The subsidiary said all its users within a 15km radius of Almaty and Astana will see the network deactivated on August 31 2013, while others within a 60km radius will see 3G services shut down from September 15 2013. Altel said all its 3G users will be provided with an LTE modem if they intend upgrading to its 4G technology.
The government of Kyrgyzstan has included its 90.35% stake in national operator Kyrgyztelecom on a list of state property that will not be privatised, according to local sources. This confirms a similar draft resolution proposed by the head of the State Property Fund Aybek Osmonaliyev in March 2013. The official reason provided was that privatisation of the company could result in a rise in prices for the fixed-line services.
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