Kyivstar, the leading Ukrainian mobile communications operator, plans to invest in the development of 4G (LTE) standard by 18-20% more in 2019 compared with 2018, Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov has said. In 2018, capital expenses of the company totaled UAH 3.1 billion. “In 2018, we increased investment in LTE by 18%. In 2019 and 2020, we are planning to maintain the same growth pace and even more – up to 20%,” he told reporters in Kyiv on Thursday.
Komarov said that Kyivstar, like other mobile operators that have purchased 3G and 4G licenses at tenders, are now in the middle of the investment cycle for implementing these communication standards.
“For a few more years, we will actively invest in comparative amounts in LTE, about UAH 3 billion a year,” the president of the largest operator said.
He said that at present, Kyivstar is focusing on the introduction of a more promising in terms of speed and data volume transmission 4G. The president of the company said that if the state is ready to provide the operator with frequencies in the range of 700-800 MHz and ensure the principle of technology neutrality for the market, the above investments can be increased to cover new village communication standards and reduce the “digital gap.”
Komarov also expressed the opinion that the possible implementation of the 5G communication standard in the Ukrainian market is still premature, since it is ahead of the market needs and the willingness of market players to invest.
At the same time, he said that Kyivstar intends to invest annually about UAH 100 million of its own funds in new promising business areas, among which he called FinTech, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud solutions and technologies, big data.
According to him, the goal is to bring the share of this new income of the total income of Kyivstar over three years to 10%. The president of the company said that the search for optimal forms of cooperation with possible partners in these areas is currently underway.
Ookla (the United States), the developer of Speedtest service, has said that Kyivstar mobile communication operator is Ukraine’s Speedtest Awards Winner for mobile network speed, according to the Ookla Speedtest report posted on the Speedtest website.
According to the report, in 2018, the company made over 4.73 million test counts for subscribers of all mobile operators. In particular, the total number of test counts in the Kyivstar network was 2.2 million with average download speed of 17.94 Mbps and average upload speed of 8.99 Mbps.
Some 1.43 million test counts were made in the Vodafone Ukraine network with average download speed of 14 Mbps and average upload speed of 6.63 Mbps, and in the lifecell network 1.1 million test counts were made with average download speed of 16.64 Mbps and average upload speed of 6.69 Mbps.
According to Ookla, Kyivstar’s Speed Score was 16.32, lifcell’s – 15.10 and Vodafone Ukraine’s – 12.74. Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance.
A total of 632,300 unique devices launched the Speedtest application in Ukraine, including Redmi Note 4 (33,100 test counts), iPhone 7 (27,000 test counts), Redmi 4X (25,300 test counts), iPhone 6s (24,600 test counts), and iPhone 6 (18,800 test counts).
According to the Ookla report, in February 2019, Speed Score for mobile networks in Ukraine was 17.10, and the country ranked 93rd among 137 countries in the Speedtest rating (51st among 177 countries in terms of fixed-line Internet speed).
Net revenue of JSC Kyivstar in 2018 totaled UAH 18.719 billion, which is 13.2% more than in 2017. According to a report of the VEON parent company, revenue of the operator from providing mobile communications services grew by 13.6%, to UAH 17.412 billion, and from the provision of fixed-line communication services – by 6.5%, to UAH 1.206 billion. In addition, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) last year rose by 14.2%, to UAH 10.529 billion, and EBITDA margin – by 0.5 percentage points (p.p.), to 56.2%.
Kyivstar’s capital expenditure in 2018 (not including the cost of licenses) increased 18.4%, to UAH 3.1 billion. The number of mobile operator’s subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2018 decreased 0.5% compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, to 26.4 million, while the number of fixed-line subscribers increased 11%, to 0.9 million.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, the operator’s income increased 16.6%, to UAH 5.009 billion. Of these, UAH 4.671 billion was revenue from mobile services (a rise of 17.2%), and UAH 311 million – income from fixed-line services (a rise of 9.1%). EBITDA over this period increased 12%, to UAH 2.793 billion, EBITDA margin decreased 2.3 p.p., to 55.8%. Capital investment in the fourth quarter of 2018 amounted to UAH 749 million, which is 40.4% more than in the same period of 2017. According to the operator, mainly the funds were sent to the development of the 4G network, improving the quality of services.
In the last quarter of last year, the ARPU (average income per subscriber) grew by 18.2%, to UAH 58, while MoU (minutes per user) decreased 1%, to 584 minutes.
According to the Kyivstar’s press release, in the fourth quarter of 2018 the number of mobile Internet users increased 18.2% compared with the same period in 2017, to 14.8 million, the consumption of data traffic increased by 152.4%, to 2.753 GB per subscriber. “The 2.5-fold increase in the consumption of data traffic, the increase in the number of mobile Internet users influenced the ARPU indicator: in the fourth quarter, this figure increased 18.2%, to UAH 58,” the company said.
In addition, Kyivstar also reminded that in recent years, the need for subscribers to use several SIM cards at the same time has been decreasing in the mobile market of Ukraine. Last year, the operator transferred taxes and other payments totaling UAH 10.5 billion to the national budget, including more than UAH 4 billion for licenses to develop new communication technologies in the country.
Kyivstar is a Ukrainian mobile communications operator. VEON international group (earlier VimpelCom) is the shareholder in Kyivstar. The group’s shares are listed on NASDAQ (New York).
Kyivstar mobile communications operator is launching the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB IoT) network in the 1800 MHz frequency band (Band 3), the press service of the operator has told Interfax-Ukraine. The operator tested the NB IoT networks designed for smart devices in December 2018 and early 2019 in its laboratory using gas and water meters.
“Successful testing of the network allowed us to scale up the project and begin its implementation at client locations. In particular, the operator’s business clients in Kyiv and Odesa regions have already joined the network for testing it at their enterprises,” the company said.
The company plans to launch the NB IoT network for customers all over Ukraine, who can order both connection to the NB IoT network, “smart” devices and software for monitoring and control.
NB IoT is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed by 3GPP to enable a wide range of cellular devices and services. The technology provides an environment for collecting data from various types of equipment: sensors, meters, and others; and provides two-way communication of devices operating in a 200 kHz frequency band. The data transfer rate in NB IoT is up to 200 kbps, which is sufficient for devices that periodically transmit small data of the same type.
The Kyivstar mobile communications operator from February 1, 2019 discontinues some existing tariffs for contract subscribers, which start from UAH 125 a month, and transfers clients to the updated tariffs, starting from UAH 150 per month with the extended services for business tasks. “From February 1, 2019, all Kyivstar corporate subscribers will be provided with new updated tariff plans with enhanced opportunities for doing business,” the largest Ukrainian operator said on its website.
Kyivstar told Interfax-Ukraine, the operator analyzed the statistics of customer use of services, and taking it into account, the operator picked the best new tariff plans. At the same time, the client retains the opportunity of switching to self-selected cheaper tariff plans.
Kyivstar said that from February, Kyivstar 4G 125 2018, Kyivstar 4G 175 2018, Kyivstar 4G 275 2018, Kyivstar 4G Premium 2018, Kyivstar 4G Business 2018 (UAH 750 a month) and Kyivstar 4G Business VIP 2018 (UAH 1,000 a month) tariff plans will be terminated.
“Their subscribers will be automatically and transferred to existing commercial offers with the best content free of charge,” the operator said.
Kyivstar said that, in particular, its customers will get more minutes for calls to other networks (which can also be used for calls abroad for some countries), unlimited Internet access, and free connection of a SIM-pair service with unlimited Internet access. For tariff plans starting from UAH 500 a month Mobile ID and Microsoft Office 365 software will be provided at no additional charge.
The new tariff line includes Kyivstar 4G (UAH 150 a month), Kyivstar 4G Extra (UAH 225 a month), Kyivstar 4G Ultra (UAH 350 a month), Kyivstar 4G Business (UAH 500 a month) and Kyivstar 4G Business VIP (UAH 1,000 a month) tariff plans.
“Additional business opportunities are now an integral part of the tariffs for entrepreneurs,” the company said.
In addition, from February 1, the terms of service of individual tariff plans also change, and M2M subscribers are transferred to new tariff plans, in which Internet traffic volumes have been significantly increased, and the possibility of using an innovative platform for managing M2M SIM cards is provided for (15 tariff plans).
In addition, from February 1, the company terminates the already irrelevant package offers for additional megabytes of traffic, in particular: Free Internet, Internet 1000, Business Internet 500, 10 MB Daily, GPRS Internet 100, GPRS Internet 1000, Business Internet 5, Business Internet 50, Internet 100, Internet 20 and the tariff Communication.
The VEON international telecom group has appointed Alexander Komarov President of Kyivstar, the leading Ukrainian mobile communications operator.
Komarov in July 2018 was appointed acting President of Kyivstar and replaced Peter Chernyshov. He also runs the post of CEO of Beeline Kazakhstan.
“In Ukraine, Kyivstar is a national success story and I am convinced that with Alexander [Komarov] at the helm the company will continue to be the leading provider of connectivity and internet services in Ukraine,” VEON reported on Thursday, citing VEON’s Executive Chairperson Ursula Burns.
Komarov, born in 1972, graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, began his career in 1994 at the Kyiv Research Center of the Military Institute of Management and Communications, from 1997 to 2002 worked for Globalstar in marketing and sales. In 2002, he was invited to the post of business development director at Adell Saatchi & Saatchi (Video International Kyiv), in 2004 he became CEO of this advertising agency, and later headed the Video International in Ukraine, a group of companies.
In 2007-2013, Komarov was CEO of a large Ukrainian marketing company GroupM. In July 2013, he received an invitation from Kazakhstan from Beeline and was appointed Chief Commercial Officer, and in January 2016 he headed the company.
Kyivstar is the largest Ukrainian mobile communications operator. According to latest data, its subscribers’ base is around 26.6 million.
VEON international group (earlier VimpelCom) is the shareholder in Kyivstar. The group’s shares are listed on NASDAQ (New York).