Mobile network operators Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell plan to build up to 30% of new telecom network sites based on the infrastructure sharing model.
“We have agreed on sharing… All operators are aware that it makes no sense to build three networks in some localities and on some roads, that it makes sense to agree to a reasonable story with investments, it makes sense to share networks. According to forecasts, 30% of the new construction will be the sharing network,” Vodafone Ukraine CEO Olha Ustinova said at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.
She also said that operators have great anticipations about the state’s permission to launch spectral sharing, which will allow them to share not only passive infrastructure, but also its active part.
Ustinova also called the elimination of the digital divide one of the most important projects of the telecom industry in Ukraine.
The mobile communications operator lifecell increased operating income by 14.2% to UAH 1.746 billion in July-September 2020 (compared to UAH 1.529 billion in July-September 2019).
According to the operator’s press service, the net profit amounted to UAH 36.8 million for the specified period (in the third quarter of 2019, the net loss was UAH 338.3 million). EBITDA increased by 12.3% to UAH 909.8 million, EBITDA margin was 52.1% (for the same period in 2019, this indicator was 53%).
The operator lifecell’s active three-month subscriber base increased by 13% to 7.8 million subscribers in the third quarter and by 2.6% compared to the previous quarter.
At the same time, the active three-month base of users of high-speed mobile 4.5G Internet grew by 51% by the end of the third quarter of 2020 compared to last year and accounted for 60% of all users of data services. Accordingly, the average use of data traffic grew by 59% year to year.
The company’s active three-month ARPU increased by 2.1% in the third quarter of 2020 and amounted to UAH 76.3 compared to UAH 74.7 in the previous year. At the same time, the 12-month active MoU grew by 20.5% to 180.8 minutes (150.1 minutes in Q3 2019).
The operator lifecell’s capital investments increased by 57.1% to UAH 860.6 million in the third quarter of 2020 versus UAH 547.7 million in the third quarter of 2019.
“This quarter we achieved net income for the first time since the company had started operating in 2005. Our subscriber base is continuing to grow, smartphone penetration has reached 81%. The company has managed to gain such results despite all challenging circumstances like pandemic environment, uncompetitive market conditions and strong commitments to state related to fast 4G rollout. And I would like to assure you that we will continue to invest in Ukraine and to do everything we can to provide all our subscribers with best products and services,” Chief Executive Officer of lifecell Ismet Yazici said.
The mobile operators Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell, together with Huawei, have launched 4G at 23 more stations of Kyiv metro and in the tunnels between them.
According to the joint press release of the operators, in general, since October 28, the high-speed mobile Internet of three operators has been operating at 45 out of 46 underground stations.
4G will appear at the last Teremky station during December.
The launch of the 4G network in the metro began in March this year from the Akademmistechko station and continued gradually.
“It is interesting that almost 300,000 subscribers of all three operators use 4G Internet every day on average. Together, subscribers of mobile operators have already used more than 400 terabytes of traffic in the metro. This volume would be enough, for example, for a continuous viewing high quality video for 30 years,” the release notes.
For 4G operation in the metro Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell use joint equipment from Huawei, but their own frequencies in accordance with licenses. Frequencies are used in two bands: 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz. According to the operators, the average 4G speed in the metro exceeds 40 Mbps.
CEO of lifecell mobile operator Ismet Yazici would like to see Azerbaijan Bakcell, which at the end of December 2019 bought Vodafone Ukraine, the second largest Ukrainian mobile operator, as an ally in the deregulation of the Ukrainian telecom market.
“I would like the new owner of the second largest mobile operator to actively engage in activities to improve working conditions in the Ukrainian telecom market. I would like Bakcell be an associate in how to deregulate the Ukrainian telecom market, make it more transparent, more competitive and more effective. Unfortunately, we are not observing this yet,” he told Interfax-Ukraine.
According to the CEO of lifecell, the change of ownership of Vodafone Ukraine did not influence the behavior and work of the operator in the Ukrainian market.
“After Bakcell entered the Ukrainian market, we did not see any changes. Vodafone Ukraine continues to adhere to previously defined strategy and continues to do what it did on the market before,” Yazici said.
The lifecell operator is the third largest mobile communications operator in Ukraine.
The mobile communications operator lifecell, under the April Unlimited social promo, has provided subscribers with individual tariff plans with fees of more than UAH 100, with an ability to communicate without restrictions using voice calls to all numbers within Ukraine, namely, lifecell, fixed lines and mobile operators during quarantine.
According to the terms of the promo action, from April 3 to April 30, subscribers who have a package of services that costs UAH 100 and more, after paying for it, will receive unlimited calls to all numbers within Ukraine (fixed line, mobile, other networks and lifecell) for the period of validity of the service package starting from the day of the fee payment.
Under the terms of the promo action, starting from 101 promotional minutes, the duration of each call will be three minutes. However, the number of calls is unlimited.
“This restriction is introduced to prevent the use of unlimited calls for commercial purposes by individual subscribers, which may complicate or make it impossible to provide services to subscribers,” lifecell said.
To use this offer, the subscribers do not need to activate or connect anything else – they just have to pay their current tariff plan service package fee during the period of offer validity. This offer now covers more than 30 active lifecell tariff plans.
For users, whose tariff plan service package less than UAH 100, the operator launched the Advantageous Hundred promo, under which the subscriber can purchase 100 minutes for UAH 15 for four weeks of calls within Ukraine to fixed lines and other mobile operators. The number of purchases during the promotion period is not limited.
“We noticed that since the introduction of measures aimed at combating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, our subscribers began to make more traditional voice calls. Today, more than ever, it is important to stay in touch with family, maintain remote working communications and have the opportunity to consult if necessary with doctors, and it is important that Ukrainians do not feel the barriers that are familiar to them, which are traditionally determined by the high cost of calls to networks of other operators or fixed lines compared to unlimited calls within the network. That is why lifecell granted more freedom of communication for its subscribers with calls to all other networks amid quarantine,” Chief Executive Officer of lifecell Ismet Yazici said.
Both promo actions are valid for all users with individual tariff plans, but do not cover the operator’s corporate subscribers.
The April Unlimited promo does not apply to the Crazy Year, HandMade and Self-Made tariff plans, while users of these tariff plans can activate the Advantageous Hundred promo.
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 2019, the company made over 3.15 million test counts for subscribers of all mobile operators. In particular, the total number of test counts in the Kyivstar network was 1.53 million with average download speed of 22.02 Mbps (17.94 Mbps in 2018) and average upload speed of 12.88 Mbps (8.99 Mbps).
Some 0.973 million test counts were made in the Vodafone Ukraine network with average download speed of 19.37 Mbps and average upload speed of 11.16 Mbps (14 Mbps and 6.63 Mbps in 2018), and in the lifecell network 0.583 million test counts were made with average download speed of 19.42 Mbps and average upload speed of 9.24 Mbps (16.64 Mbps and 6.69 Mbps).
According to Ookla, Kyivstar’s Speed Score was 20.31, lifcell’s – 17.77 and Vodafone Ukraine’s – 17.93. Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance.
A total of 566,300 unique devices launched the Speedtest application in Ukraine, including iPhone 7 (27,600 test counts), Redmi Note 5 Pro (25,700 test counts), Redmi Note 4 (20,700 test counts), iPhone 6s (20,500 test counts), and iPhone X (18,100 test counts).
At the same time, in Kharkiv, according to Ookla, the speed of mobile Internet is on average higher than in Kyiv. So, Kyivstar’s Speed Score in this city was 25.08, while in Kyiv it was 19.79. Speed Score of lifecell in Kharkiv was 22.17, and in Kyiv was 18.06.
At the same time, the Speed Score of Vodafone Ukraine in Kharkiv was 16.87, while in Kyiv it was 18.88.