Tuesday 4 July 2023

Operators in Kyrgyzstan Cautiously Test 5G!

The Kyrgyz Republic, known as Kyrgyzstan, has the highest levels of mobile penetration across Central Asian (CA) countries — 159.9% with 2.94 SIMs per unique mobile subscriber, according to GSMA Intelligence. Despite being the second poorest country across CA, Kyrgyzstan came first regarding 4G Availability (the proportion of users of 4G-capable devices who spend most of their time on 4G networks). The National Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic 2018-2040 is one initiative that facilitates digital transformation to hasten the country’s economic development. The State Communications Agency (SCA) stated in its annual report for 2021 that a total of 2,049 settlements across the country were covered by 4G LTE mobile networks at the end of 2021, equivalent to 96% of the country’s 2,130 officially registered cities, towns and villages. 2G mobile network technology extended to 2,088 locations (98%), while 3G networks were present in 2,081 (97%). Overall, 42 settlements (1.9%) were outside mobile network coverage, some due to a lack of power transmission lines.

Beeline Kyrgyzstan, Megacom,  and O! (Kyrgyztelecom) are the major mobile operators in the country. Megacom Kyrgyzstan, run by the state-owned Alfa-Telecom has started its rebranding campaign to MEGA following Megacom ownership transfer to the state-owned Kyrgyzstan State Development Bank. The operator announced that it expanded and upgraded its 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in seven regions and the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic. It plans to continue network coverage expansion across remote areas of Kyrgyzstan.

MEGA currently claims roughly three million mobile subscriptions, and its CEO Nurlan Mamytov stated that its strategic goals for 2023 include expanding the active user base, deploying at least 200 additional base stations in twelve months, upgrading network quality and data/internet speed, modernising existing technical infrastructure, further expanding the distribution/sales network, developing fintech services, and ‘creating favourable conditions for attracting large investments’.

In April of this year Mega launched Kyrgyzstan’s first VoLTE calling service. The IP-based 4G mobile voice service is available to compatible handset owners in all areas covered by MEGA’s LTE network, its press release claimed. VoLTE calls are provided at no extra charge to the user, with the cellco highlighting the technology’s benefits including fast call set-up time, high-definition sound quality and simultaneous high speed 4G mobile internet/voice connections.

Beeline is the biggest competitor of MegaCom in the country. They recently announced plans to leverage its parent group VEON’s partnership with satellite provider OneWeb to ‘become the first mobile operator in Kyrgyzstan capable of providing continuous communication and high speed internet to the most remote areas of the country, even those areas that have not had access to the network until now.’ Beeline said that the partnership with OneWeb will enable the elimination of digital inequality, ensure continuous communication in emergency situations ‘and increase the rate of economic growth of the population’ using high speed, low-latency satellite internet connectivity.

O! by Nur Telecom is the smallest of the three operators. Starting in Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad, it offers 4G/LTE on 800 and 2600 MHz (B7 and 20). This has now spread to the country side and 97% of the population are covered in 2020 by LTE.

O! reported in August 2022 that they had conducted measurements of 5G data speed ‘which for the first time in Kyrgyzstan accelerated to 1.5Gbps.’ The company’s technical director Anton Kovalenko noted that ‘the launch of 5G into commercial operation is not far off, but it is too early to talk about a mass commercial launch, the transition will be phased.’ He added: ‘If [customers] are looking for a new smartphone, then in my opinion, it already makes sense to turn your attention to devices with support for the latest technology.’

5G in Kyrgyzstan is being tested in the n77 and n78 (3400MHz-3800MHz) frequency ranges, and will initially be integrated with existing 4G networks. O! expects its eventual 5G network to provide data speeds around ‘ten times faster than 4G’ with ‘average speed of 150Mbps-200Mbps.’

The mobile telecommunications sector in Kyrgyzstan is experiencing a dynamic phase with continuous efforts to improve network coverage, enhance service quality, and offer competitive pricing, mobile operators are striving to provide residents and visitors with an excellent mobile experience. As the industry evolves, customers can expect more advanced services, increased connectivity, and a vibrant mobile ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan.

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1 comment:

  1. you have completely wrong information. O! mobile operator is the largest mobile communication operator in Kyrgyzstan. It’s leading in 4G/3G/2G network coverage and capacity covering the area with over 99% of the country’s population. If you have question, please ask pr@nurtelecom.kg so as not to mislead readers.