This is the conclusion reached by analysts from the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK), NRU HSE. They analyzed the indicators of the demand for telecommunications infrastructure in Russia against the backdrop of a sharp increase in Internet traffic and loads on communication networks in 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021. According to researchers, fixed Internet traffic in 2020 grew by 35% year on year, having delivered an absolute record over the past five years (62 exabytes). At the very beginning of the pandemic (Q2 2020), it grew by 34.2% compared to the same period in 2019.The volume of data transferred via wired communication channels in Q1 2021 amounted to 18 exabytes (up 42.6% higher than for the same period in 2020). Mobile traffic in 2020 grew by 47% relative to 2019 (22.6 exabytes). During the strictest lockdown (Q2 2020), it increased 51.9% year-on-year. In the first three months of 2021, mobile traffic growth was 34.5% compared to January – March 2020.
HSE analysts also noted that the telecom market has been saturating in recent years. The number of subscribers of fixed broadband access to the Internet in Russia amounted to 23 units per 100 people in 2020 (+ 3.7% compared to 2019). In Switzerland (47.6 units), France (44.6 units), Denmark (44.2 units), leading by this indicator, the growth rates of fixed broadband subscribers in 2020 were within 1.7%.
The number of mobile broadband subscribers per 100 population in Russia at the end of 2020 amounted to 99.6 units. (+ 3.3% compared to 2019). Despite the steady growth of the indicator, in 2020 the dynamics turned out to be the lowest in the last decade. Among the reasons are the closure of retail communication stores during quarantine, the refusal of subscribers to use additional SIM cards and almost zero connection of foreign citizens due to closed borders.
In 2020, the share of high-speed Internet subscribers (over 100 Mbit / s) increased by 8.3 percentage points. compared to last year and for the first time exceeded the share of users connecting to the Network at a speed of 10-100 Mbps (42.2 against 39.8%), analysts say. In Russia, fiber-optic FTTH / FTTB (FTTx) communication networks are actively being deployed, providing the most reliable Internet connection – at the end of 2020, the share of this connection technology amounted to 82.5% of subscribers (13.7 p.p. more than in 2015 G.). However, 10.8% of the total number of subscribers are still connected via xDSL technology, in 2015 this percentage was 23.6%.
Fixed internet tariffs in the first year of the pandemic remained at the 2019 level (RUB 552.88 per month as of December 2020). The cost of a package of mobile services in December 2020 increased by 12.5% versus December 2019 (388.86 rubles per month), a year earlier the growth was more than doubled (+ 27.9%). In the first quarter of 2021, mobile services fell on average by 0.5%, the cost of fixed internet increased by 1.7% versus December 2020.
HSE analysts told ComNews that at the beginning of 2021 the trend towards an increase in the demand for the Internet was confirmed. “This is manifested in a sharp increase in the growth rate of fixed Internet traffic (+ 42.6% versus Q1 2020). At the same time, the growth rate of mobile traffic has somewhat slowed down (+ 34.5% vs. Q1 2020). At the beginning of 2021, the number of wired Internet subscribers increased by 3.3% (compared to January-March 2020), mobile subscribers – by 4.1%.
In the first three months of 2021, Internet tariffs remained at the level of 2020: mobile Internet services fell by 0.5% compared to December 2020 (386.9 rubles per month), fixed prices increased by 1.7% (562 , 31 rubles per month) “, – said analysts at the Higher School of Economics.
MegaFon JSC agrees with the data. Valentin Polozenko, director of network infrastructure at MegaFon, noted that last year mobile Internet traffic in the MegaFon network grew by more than 40% compared to 2019. “We cope with subscribers’ requests and do not observe the maximum load on the network. To ensure trouble-free operation, work was carried out to increase capacity, install additional base stations, expand transport channels, taking into account the growth and redistribution of traffic. This provided subscribers with high-quality communication and high Internet speed. We expect that by the end of 2021 mobile Internet traffic may grow to 38% “, – said Valentin Polozenko.
The press service of VimpelCom PJSC (Beeline brand) is also ready to confirm the conclusions of this study – the traffic growth on the Beeline network in 2020 compared to 2019 was more than 35%. “The number of Beeline home Internet users increased by 8% year-on-year, and home Internet revenue grew by more than 10%. The average starting tariff grew by more than 3%, mainly due to the transition of subscribers to higher-speed tariffs. with available speeds of more than 100 Mbit / s increased by 34%. The number of Beeline TV users increased by more than 10%. We also note the growth of mobile data transmission traffic per one mobile subscriber by more than 50% in 2020 “, – said the press VimpelCom service.
“At the end of 2020, the consumption of mobile Internet increased by 57% year-on-year,” the Tele2 press service said, “voice services – by 12% compared to 2019. To maintain the high quality of services, the company urgently focused on expanding coverage and increasing capacity. infrastructure taking into account the growth of loads and traffic migration. We are building LTE networks at a faster pace: by the end of 2020, Tele2 increased the number of BS (base stations) LTE by 56% year-on-year. During 2019-2020, Tele2 put into operation 30 thousand . 5G-Ready base stations throughout the territory of presence, and in May bought another 50 thousand base stations from Ericsson. In the face of exponential traffic growth, we plan to maintain high rates of infrastructure development. “
In PJSC Rostelecom, the growth of fixed broadband traffic is caused by the introduction of restrictive measures due to COVID-19 – many employees have switched to remote work, and pupils and students to distance learning. “Users have multiplied the intensity of the use of traffic-intensive services related to video communication and video conferencing. Rostelecom’s networks have coped with the increase in load, they are always built with a reserve for increasing traffic. directions where it was necessary, – says the press service of Rostelecom. – Recall that optical access networks of Rostelecom cover more than 38 million households across the country at the beginning of 2021, which ensures high reliability and data transfer speed even in It is the restrictions due to the pandemic that have demonstrated the necessity and importance of home Internet, because video communication requires high data transfer speed, service stability and low ping – there is no real alternative to optics in these parameters yet. years (2015-2020) number of households, incl. using optical broadband technologies increased by 3.7 million (+ 59%) to 10.0 million, while the number of DSL users decreased by 2.1 million (-40%) to 3.2 million Currently, more than 76% of the company’s subscribers use optical technologies, while five years ago it was 54% (+22 pp). “
The growth of traffic in the network of ER-Telecom Holding JSC in the first quarter of 2021 amounted to 70% compared to the same period last year. “The surge in Internet consumption and the load on the network caused by the COVID-19 pandemic persists, despite the weakening of quarantine restrictions,” says the press service of ER-Telecom. “We attribute this to a significant increase in the share of remote users, as well as the rapid popularization of video platforms, video analytics and services for video conferencing. There are no prerequisites for reducing the load and traffic volume. To maintain the reliability of the network and ensure the outstripping growth of its capacity, over the past year alone we have invested more than 3 billion rubles. we see our services: the development of converged offerings, the expansion of the range of digital and cloud solutions for business. “
Akado Telecom’s data correlate with the experts’ conclusions. A representative of Akado Telecom told ComNews that the infrastructure in 2020 – Q1 2021 experienced increased load due to traffic growth, for example, in April 2020, the load on the network increased by 65% in relation to the average daily data from – for the massive transition of users to remote work. “In November 2020, the network load indicators were comparable to the April data, because subscribers returned to work from home, and the annual seasonal growth in traffic began. But this did not affect the quality of our services in any way: by the beginning of 2020, we upgraded network and formed the reserve of its bandwidth, which allowed us to cope with an unusual situation. Also, in 2020, the number of AKADO broadband Internet access subscribers increased by 1.3%, and the subscriber base of high-speed tariff plans increased by 0.8% “, – commented the representative of “Akado Telecom”.