Russia will make a transition to 5G networks in 2020. By 2025, the technology will cover up to 80% of the country’s population making Russia the leader among CIS countries in 5G penetration, according to the GSMA Mobile Economy Russia & CIS 2018 research that was presented at the Mobile 360 Series: Russia and the CIS forum.
According to the research, by 2025 5G will account for one-fifth of all mobile connections. Also by 2025, 5G services will be available in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Uzbekistan.
The CIS has the highest mobile communication penetration rate in the world after Europe and North America. In late 2017, the region had 232 mio unique mobile service users, which is almost 80% of the entire population. Russians make up more than a half of these users, or 128 mio. The subscriber base in the region will have limited growth in the next few years due to such extensive coverage and will be around 2%, rising from 80% to 82% by 2025. The majority of new users will represent Uzbekistan.
However, the 4G technology still has a growth potential. In late 2017, 4G accounted for 16% connections, mostly in Russia because it was one of the first CIS countries to launch the fourth-generation service. It is expected that by 2025, 4G will cover more than two-thirds of all connections in the region while 5G will take around 12%.