TeleGeography Update: Worldwide Wireless Operators: Who is Losing Ground and Why?

11 Sep 2006

TeleGeography has identified the ten worldwide wireless operators that lost the most market share in the twelve months ending 30 March 2006. The data analysed is derived from information gathered daily and stored in GlobalComms, TeleGeography’s regularly updated online encyclopedia of wireline and wireless telecommunications operators.

Amongst those to lose significant market share is BCTI, an operator based in the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, ranked by TeleGeography as the top ‘loser’ with a 19.4% drop in market share to 78.3%. Backed by the mighty Russian operator MTS, BCTI has lost ground through a combination of regulatory wranglings (its license was actually revoked for a few weeks in 2005 meaning no new customers could join) and stiffer competition from its rival state-owned rival TM-Cell (known locally as Altyn Asyr).

The second placed loser was TeliaSonera Finland, which saw its share of the market fall from 57.4% in 1Q 2005 to 46.6% in the same quarter of 2006, as a result of rival Elisa Mobile buying MVNO Saunalahti and porting its 500,000-strong user base to its own network. Over the same period, Indosat, via its wholly owned wireless arm Satelindo, saw its market share drop from 32% to 26.4%, which the company attributes to the process of compulsory registration of pre-paid users and its own conscious decision to market its services less aggressively to the low-end segment; in the three months ending March 2006 Satelindo actually recorded a 1.55 million decrease in subscribers, while ARPU fell 24.4% year-on-year to just INR58,836 (USD6.1) per month.

Brasilcel (operating under the brand Vivo) has been steadily losing market share for the last year, a fact it attributes to its operation of a CDMA-based network rather than the more popular GSM. So convinced is Vivo that this is the underlying reason behind its decline, that in June this year it announced plans to overlay its network with GSM infrastructure in an exercise which could cost an estimated USD2.51 billion.

While the list of losers depicts operators dealing with a myriad of issues ranging from regulatory debates to the perception of network inferiority, the poor performance of UMC in Ukraine can be attributed to a common problem: strong competition. Its defeat can be laid firmly at the feet of rival Astelit, the Turkcell/TeliaSonera backed operator, whose subscribers rose from just 134,000 in March 2005 to a massive 3.2 million a year later, impacting the market shares of all other cellcos.

No other telecom market research tool rivals the geographic scope and depth of coverage found in GlobalComms. This continuously updated analysis of more than 150 countries and 1,000+ companies provides essential operator statistics such as subscribers, revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX, ARPU, and more. And it not only covers the wireless segment; the fixed line and broadband markets are given the same exhaustive profiling.

To learn more about GlobalComms, please visit our web site or contact your account manager:

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TeleGeography's GlobalComms