5G networks in Russia will provide coverage to more than 80 percent of the population by 2025, GSMA’s latest report on 5G shows.
Russian mobile operators will launch commercial 5G networks in 2020. 5G is expected to grow to account for almost one in five of the country’s mobile connections (48 million) by 2025.
In addition to Russia, other countries in the CIS region expected to launch 5G services by 2025 include Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Uzbekistan.
CIS region had 232 million unique mobile subscribers, equivalent to 80 percent of the population, in 2017. Russia accounted for more than half (128 million) of this total and is the region’s most highly penetrated market at 89 percent.
4G accounted for 16 percent of connections in 2017 in CIS, largely driven by Russia. All three main Russian operators have launched LTE-Advanced networks. 4G is expected to account for more than two-thirds of the CIS region’s total connections by 2025 with 5G accounting for 12 percent by this point.
Telecom operators will focus on mobile broadband as part of their 5G use case strategy in the initial phase. 5G-based Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise solutions will be the focus in the next phase of growth.
The number of IoT connections in the CIS region is forecast to triple over the next few years, reaching 660 million by 2025, opening up opportunities in areas such as smart cities and smart utilities.
Other areas of opportunity for mobile operators in the CIS region include e-commerce, blockchain and investments in the start-up ecosystem, GSMA said.