Operators Set to Invest $25 Billion in Infrastructure Across the CIS Region
The latest GSMA Intelligence report forecasts that there will be 52 million 5G connections across the CIS region by 2025, representing a 13% adoption rate. Underlying this growth is operator investments, expected to be more than $25b in new infrastructure rollouts, of which 57% will be for high-performance 5G networks.
4G became the region’s leading mobile technology in 2020 and will account for 65% of total connections by 2025. Smartphone adoption is set to reach 81% by 2025 due to the availability and popularity of lower cost handsets. The mobile ecosystem employed over 830,000 people in the region in 2019 and contributed $14b to public sector funding. The CIS region will add almost 330 million new IoT connections by 2025, with smart home and smart buildings two key growth areas.
“As mobile operators continue to enhance connectivity, through expansion of 4G and laying the foundation for 5G, the CIS region is reaping concrete benefits in economic growth and social development through improved commerce, communication and service delivery,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted, like never before, the importance of access to fast and reliable connectivity in driving a resilient and inclusive digital economy, underpinned by a wide range of digital services for individuals and businesses across the region.”
A primary constraint on the CIS region’s ability to reap the full benefits of 5G is the availability of spectrum. Currently, certain frequencies earmarked for 5G remain out of reach of operators, putting at risk the region’s digital vision and the potential of IoT. The GSMA believes that policymakers should play a leading role in making 5G a reality, which includes the development of a comprehensive roadmap for the release and renewal of spectrum. Ensuring the effective management of valuable spectrum resources will be crucial to providing certainty, encouraging investment and, maximising the opportunities that next-generation mobile connectivity can bring to the region.