Despite the financial crisis “The Big Three” operators continue “blow up” the own subscribers base. The practice of the free SIM cards or for the low price won’t disappear as long as the management of such companies wants to show the shareholders that determined growth is possible even when the customer demand falls. Such policy leaded to in January (J`son & Partners) that the quantity of the registered SIM cards over Russia was equal 189,9 million pieces (10,1 million more than a year before). Penetration just in Moscow licensed zone overpassed 184% (the point of 100% it surpassed 3 years ago. However on the corporate market there are several growth points which can bring not to the common arithmetic summarizing the number of emitted SIM cards but the mobile operators’ financial indicators improvement.
One out of the perspective directions, assured Rishad Allaberdiev, Senior Consultant J`son & Partners, is the mobile modems. They are not only provided formal growth of the subscribers’ base but extremely active increase the index of the “Big Three” and especially of “Sky Link” company. As was mentioned by Igor Akulinin, Vice-president of “Megafon-Moscow”, “in those regions where our 3G networks have been launched, the growth of the package traffic is observed in comparance with the GSM: operators are very interested in the [mobile] broadband access theme”.
At the moment, according J`son & Partners estimates, the number of the same subscribers’ devices (excluding laptops with the wireless access adapters) are close to million points. Besides, the prices are decreasing. And the splash of these product sales of “the big three” is not in the capital but in the regions where the third generation networks are launched. According to the official information of “Vympelcom” on the beginning of March such networks “in active mode” are working in 27 towns, of MTS in 14, and of Megafon in 10.
So the mobile WiMAX in the battle for the subscribers who need the mobile broadband access is lagging: by the view of J`son & Partners analytics, till the end of 2008 year this technology that had been offered by Scartel company, only about thousand people used to test it. The first sales of the “Comstar-OTC” which have started in February, 2009 become more descent. Herein, both companies haven’t yet launched the networks in testing mode. Moreover, the limits of the equipment for the subscribers offer — there are only USB-modems, PCMCI and communicator by HTC (for Scartel network) and one modem for the WiMAX network by Comstar-OTC. Neither laptops, nor netbooks with the implanted adapters for the mobile WiMAX are in Russia. Neither the hybrid rooters are as well. “In fact, — notes Pevel Gorenkov, Gars Telecom CEO, — it is necessary for the corporate clients to understand the road maps of this or another technology to imagine the technical re-equipment even for the nearest future. But WiMAX is still looks like an experiment, any new hardware or technology denies the previous one”.
Thus, it is still very hard to estimate the users auditory of the mobile WiMAX on the 2009 year end. “Upon our view, — concerns Rishad Allaberdiev, — mobile WiMAX will be in demand for people who need the permanent opportunity to be in touch: e-mail, news and etc. (corporate users in major — Author mark), and also technically adequate youth. At the same time, this technology can draw the part of the subscribers who use SkyLink for the internet access”".
Besides, taking into consideration the subscribers’ desire to “divide” personal and work calls on the different numbers, the subscribers base grows owing to the people who have terminal with the two radio units or those who use several mobile terminals at the same time. If the year ago the number of such users were about 6 million, nowadays there are twice more. By the opinion of Sergey Savin, Senior Analyst and Consultant of J`son & Partners, up to 9% of the subscribers (more than 17 million) use two or more SIM cards at the same time. The decreasing of the corporate limits on the mobile services assists this: the personnel have to pay for the personal calls by themselves that is why they are to buy additional budget tariff.