Thursday, July 03, 2014

Akamai, a leading provider of cloud services, released its State of the Internet Report for Q1 2014.  The report reveals strong growth in the fixed and mobile broadband speeds in Russia. 

 In Q1 2014, the average broadband speed – which is defined as connections at the speeds above 4Mbps – in Russia reached 8.2 Mbps, an increase of 15% quarter-on-quarter and 44% year-on-year. By this metric, Russia ranks 22nd overall globally and ahead of other European countries, such as Germany, France and Italy.  Overall adoption of broadband in Russia is at 77%, again ahead of many developed countries in the EMEA region. In terms of average peak broadband speeds Russia fares better; Russia ranks 16th in the global ranking with an average speed of 41.3 Mbps.  The study further registers growing penetration of “high broadband” in Russia, with 27% of connections at above the 10 Mbps threshold. This represents an increase of 123% from the previous year. 

While there’s no universally adopted methodology for measuring broadband speed and Akamai data for Russia might have been affected by erroneous identification of some of the mobile connections as fixed, which has happened before with Akamai measurements, the results of the study showcases a growing trend of greater penetration of high-speed Internet access throughout the region. According to the IKS-consulting data for Q1 2014, 49% of households in Russia had broadband connections while in Moscow fixed broadband penetration reached 86%. MTS contributed to this growth by wiring 2.3 mln households in Moscow to its GPON (Gigabyt-capable Optic Passive Network). As of the end of the first quarter MTS’s subsidiary MGTS had more than 330,000 households using Internet and Pay TV services via GPON at the speeds up to 300 Mbps.       

In terms of mobile connections, Akamai’s measurements revealed an average speed of 6.1 Mbps and an average peek speed of 35.1 Mbps. Once again, Russia places higher than in other European countries, including Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. These results reflect continued modernization of MTS’s 3G networks using HSPA+ and Multi Carrier technology and aggressive roll-out of 4G/LTE networks. In April 2014, MTS successfully activated the Third Carrier on 2,000 base stations working in the 2100 MHz range, which enables MTS to raise peak speeds to 63 Mbps.  The launch of LTE networks in 28 out of 83 of the Russia’s regions now expands access to high-speed broadband at speeds of up to 75 Mbps to millions of the Russian customers. 

As LTE-enabled devices become more popular (e.g. in Q1 2014 LTE-enabled smartphones accounted for 12.6% of smartphones sales in Russia, according to our estimates), we expect data transfer speeds to increase further and drive mobile Internet usage growth.  Recent regulatory decisions to allow operators like MTS to provide LTE services over 1800 MHz bandwith should also improve penetration of high-speed mobile internet access and in turn further showcase MTS’s core markets as a global leader in telecommunications and Internet services.

[1] Methodology used by Akamai to measure the speeds for the purpose of this report is described in detail in this blog post 


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