The Russian market surpassed 125% penetration during Q3 to finish the quarter on 126.9%, but growth showed no sign of slowing: in fact, the annual growth figure of 14.5% was up 0.7pp compared to the prior twelve-month period. With 179.81m customers, Russia remained the fourth largest market in the world, around 87m behind the USA and 39m ahead of Brazil.
Russia: Market Share, Top Three Operators
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Quarterly net additions stood at 6.78m, making it the best quarter for actual growth in Russia since Q4 05. Both MegaFon and Vimpelcom also scored their best ever quarterly uplifts since the heady days of 2005 with figures of 2.88m and 2.61m respectively. MegaFon, the third largest operator in the market, surged past the 40m mark to finish the quarter on 41.74m, thereby achieving its highest ever market share of 23.2%. Q3 was the second successive quarter in which it topped the market for net additions, and it was therefore no surprise that it also led the market in terms of actual annual growth with a boost of 7.72m, compared to 7.46m for MTS. Vimpelcom was well behind with a year-on-year gain of just 3.29m, although its strong third- quarter performance did see it surpass the 45m mark to finish the quarter on 45.09m customers.
MTS remains the clear market leader in Russia with 61.88m customers but its market share fell to 34.4%, the lowest level seen since the final quarter of 2001. Its third-quarter gain of 0.50m was only just ahead of the 0.45m recorded by 4th-placed Tele2, which finished Q3 on 9.93m customers and 5.5% market share. Meanwhile, the Svyazinvest regionals – which include Uralsvyazinform, Sibirtelecom and Volga Telecom – reached a total of 14.14m, with a third-quarter gain of 0.30m.
The Russian market is not only gaining in size, but also in value. MegaFon does not report a figure for ARPU but both MTS and Vimpelcom scored record highs, with respective quarterly averages of $11.50 and $15.20. Vimpelcom’s launch of 3G services in four cities in September may not have had much of an impact, but it will probably push ARPU even higher in the future. Indeed, with all three major operators now offering 3G, both ARPUs and customer numbers are likely to continue to rise for some time.
Source: Cellular News.