On August 6, for the first time in recent years, the leader of Uzbekistan mobile communication market have changed. After seven years of dominance, Beeline dropped to second place in subscribers numbers, yielding the palm to Ucell. And it seems that this is not a separate episode in the competitive struggle, but another symbolic milestone, testifying to a stable trend.
Today VEON Group (the parent company of Beeline Uzbekistan) announced the results of operating and financial activities in the second quarter of 2020. As predicted by experts, the subscriber base of Unitel LLC continued to fall: the number of connected Beeline SIM-cards has been decreasing for the tenth quarter in a row.
However, until the beginning of last year the negative dynamics did not exceed 50-100 thousand per quarter for a long time, then since March 2019 this number has tripled. Just a year ago, Beeline served 8,669,199 people, and today - only 7,091,302.
Sources of the editorial staff at Unitel single out among the main reasons for the failure the management crisis and the unjustified focus of marketers on additional digital services, promoted to the detriment of creating competitive tariff plans in the voice and the Internet. In recent months, the “yellow-blacks” had to master the unusual role of catch-ups, pulling their price offers to the new products of competitors, which could not but affect the final result. Of course, the public scandal with the quarantine of the Beeline call center due to the COVID-19 outbreak also made itself felt, but The main factor behind the sharp drop was Unitel's attitude towards subscribers, who are usually classified as low-income. In particular, in November last year, the VEON Strategy Director Alexander Kazbegi stated in plain text, saying that the company in some way deliberately let go of some “lower level” subscribers.
According to the information provided by Ucell, the subscriber base of this operator is 7,940,000, which makes the "purple" ones in first place in terms of the number of clients. Earlier, Ucell was able to do this for a short time even when the company was a part of TeliaSonera corporation in 2012 - right after the collapse of MTS. However, it should be borne in mind that for a year and a half, Ucell has been a state operator, and this forces at least to reconsider the traditionally skeptical view of the effectiveness of state administration in the telecommunication industry.
The dynamics of development of Uzmobile also speaks: by the end of the first half of the year, the subscriber base of the GSM-unit of Uzbektelecom reached 5,850,000 SIM-cards. Thus, Uzmobile demonstrates a record growth rate for the industry, if it is maintained, it has every chance to compete with Beeline for the second largest market share by the end of this year.
Mobiuz deserves a separate mention with 3,000,000 subscribers. Experts expect this operator not to participate in the race for leadership, but to implement the previously announced strategy aimed at the development of digitized public services and coverage of the republic with high-speed mobile Internet.
It is gratifying that the cellular communication market in Uzbekistan is once again becoming highly competitive - this at least gives hope for the introduction of new interesting services, the approaching launch of the 5G standard, price reductions and other tempting aspects of the struggle for consumer attention.