By the end of 2020, Russia ranked 2nd among the largest economies in the world (top 50 countries in terms of GDP) in the ranking of mobile traffic availability. Last year, 1 GB of traffic cost a Russian subscriber 24.6 rubles, the analytical company Content-Review calculated. Cheaper than a gigabyte cost only in India – 9.2 rubles. (tariffs denominated in national currencies were recalculated in rubles at the exchange rates of the Central Bank at the beginning of 2021). Indonesia follows Russia – 28.2 rubles.
In the index for 2019, Russia ranked 6th in a similar rating – the cost of a gigabyte was lower in Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Indonesia.
The average cost of 1 GB of mobile traffic in the world market last year amounted to almost 189 rubles. against 187 rubles. a year earlier, according to Content-Review. In Russia, on the other hand, the price of a gigabyte has decreased by about 35%, says Sergey Polovnikov, head of Content-Review.
“According to our calculations, the average cost per gigabyte for 2020 decreased by 30% year-on-year,” said Daria Kolesnikova, a representative of Tele2.
The decrease in the cost of a gigabyte in Russia is due to the consecutive transfer of subscribers to tariffs with large traffic packages, the report says.
“Tariffs for cellular communications in Russia are growing, but the volume of traffic that operators include in packages is growing much faster, over the year the number of included gigabytes has grown by an average of 40-50%,” Polovnikov explains.
In 2020, tariffs for cellular communications in Russia increased by about 10% compared to 2019, Sergei Potresov, an analyst at Mobile Research Group, told Vedomosti earlier.
At the same time, Russia has the lowest unlimited tariffs for mobile access in the world, follows from the Content-Review report. The average value of such a tariff in Russia by the end of last year was 630 rubles. Romania is in second place with a price of just over 1,300 rubles. On average, in the world, unlimited tariffs in 2020 compared to 2019 increased by almost 40% – to 4405 rubles, according to Content-Review.
In most countries of the world, tariffs with unlimited Internet access have finally moved to the premium segment, this is primarily due to the need to monetize the launch of 5G networks, the report says.
In 2020–2025 operators around the world can invest about $ 1.1 trillion in the development of their networks, the international association GSMA predicted earlier. 80% of these funds will go towards 5G development.
Operators in developed countries have motivation to increase revenues and raise prices, which the Russian ones do not yet have – the upcoming or already started introduction of 5G, reminds Polovnikov: “It has not yet been decided what frequencies and where to get to launch fifth generation networks in Russia. any massive construction is expected no earlier than 2024 “.
Regulation is also a factor deterring Russian operators from direct and sharp price increases – there are already examples of how the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) intervenes in operators’ pricing. For example, in February of this year, the FAS opened a case against Tele2, accusing the company of an unjustified increase in tariffs for some subscribers by 13%.
Russian operators have practically no mechanisms to keep subscribers from switching to competitors – an increase in tariffs by one of them will provoke an additional outflow, adds Polovnikov.
“In Russia, there is competition between operators in the segment of unlimited tariffs and packages with a large volume of included traffic,” says Konstantin Ankilov, General Director of TMT Consulting. “At the same time, prices in a highly competitive market are not growing as fast as operators would like, and the gigabyte packages they offer to subscribers are expanding.”
The demand for mobile traffic continues to grow, says MTS representative Alexey Merkutov: “In 2020, the growth was more than 40% compared to 2019. In this regard, the most popular package tariffs in Russia are changing: the number of gigabytes included in the mobile Internet package is growing in almost all regions. “
“With the growth of tariff coverage, the level of prices for communication really does not change much. For example, in a number of regions Tele2 has doubled the traffic packages in response to the growth in Internet consumption while maintaining the same price for the tariff, ”says Kolesnikova.
“The cost of mobile Internet for subscribers is really decreasing, but when choosing a tariff plan, the user is guided rather not by the cost of a gigabyte or a minute of conversation, but by the set of services offered by the operator,” the Megafon representative said.