Of all the former Soviet republics, Tajikistan’s telecommunications infrastructure was arguably the least developed. With a telecom network that was near total collapse, the government had the daunting task of bringing it up to modern standards. Despite the launch of 4G/LTE services, overall the telecom sector has continued to struggle. Tajikistan still has one of the lowest fixed-line penetrations in the Asian region and one of the lowest levels of broadband penetration.
Tajikistan’s mobile sector has been on a strong growth path for over a decade. It continues to be the standout feature of the country’s telecom industry. It has experienced relatively strong growth over the last five years. However, as the market has moved closer to a saturation phase there has been an inevitable slowing in the growth rate. Moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to strong local competition and a further maturing market.
Fixed broadband penetration in Tajikistan remains extremely low mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines as well as the dominance of the mobile platform. Market penetration has only grown marginally over the last five years from a very small base. Over the next five years to 2022 growth is expected to continue but overall market penetration will remain extremely low. However, an expanding internet user population is a positive sign for the country’s future. This has been helped by the increasingly widespread presence of mobile broadband services.
Tajikistan has seen a strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past four years, however the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development and penetration remains relatively low compared to other Asian nations. Very strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022. The mobile broadband market will be driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers, increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they roll out their 4G networks and improving tariffs due to strong competition.
Tajikistan is ranked 30th out of 34 with a Telecoms Maturity Index score of 9. This ranks Tajikistan fifth last in the “Market Laggards” category. (BuddeComm’s “Asian Telecoms Maturity Index”, is an index (on a scale between 0 and 100) that measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industry in all of the 34 countries in Asia.). Compared to other Asian nations, Tajikistan has low to moderate mobile penetration and very low mobile broadband and fixed broadband penetration.
Tajikistan’s national telecoms regulator ordered all mobile operators and ISPs in the country to shut down their VoIP services and cancel their IP telephony licences.
In early 2018 VEON agreed to sell mobile operator Tacom to local investment partners. It is believed that the Beeline brand will be retained locally despite any change of ownership.
Number of pages 42
Last updated 14 May 2018
Analyst: Phil Harpur
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