Cellular Market Data: 2005 Year-End Results

Below you may download the December and year-end 2005 subscriber figures on Russian and Ukrainian cellular markets. Please note that we have slightly downgraded our November 2004 estmates for total number of subscribers in Russia and upgraded Astelit's (Ukraine) figures for November.

Main highlights for both covered markets:


MTS remains market leader but the margin between MTS and Vimpelcom narrows. Although Russian operators added significant 6.2 mln new subs to the counter in December, there is a visible slowdown in Y-o-Y market growth rate - there were 8.3 mln net additions reported in December 2004. 2005 was the last year of record-high growth rates as the level of saturation closes in in the major part of the country's regions. Other key points:

  • Number of subscribers (valid SIM cards) reached 125.8 mln (up 6.2 mln from November 2005, 51.4 mln from December 2004);
  • Penetration jumped to 86.6% (up 4.3% from November 2005, 35.4% from December 2004);
  • There were 135 and 118 SIM cards in use per 100 population in Moscow and St.Petersburg respectively as of December 31, 2005;
  • MTS won December net additons in the regions and generally in Russia, losing to Vimpelcom in Moscow and St.Petersburg.

Russian Mobile Subscribers

Mobile Subscribers December 31, 2005 November 30, 2005
Total Russia 125,760,000 119,730,000
  Penetration* 86.6% 82.5%
Moscow 22,842,679 22,302,410
  Penetration* 134.5% 131.3%
St.Petersburg 7,508,220 7,273,784
  Penetration* 118.4% 114.7%
Subscribers outside Moscow and St.Pete 95,409,101 90,153,806
  Penetration* 78.3% 74.0%

* Please note that penetration figures are calculated based on official data from 2002 population census (145 mln for Russia, 17 mln for Moscow and 6.3 mln for St.Pete). Reportedly, the population in Moscow License Area reaches as high as 23-25 mln while St.Pete License Area population figure is above 7 mln.


Total number of subscribers in Ukraine almost doubled in 2005. Kyivstar and UMC remain very close rivals with Astelit lagging behind by a margin. Leaders were almost on par in December net additions, though UMC managed to attract a bit larger share of users.

  • Number of subscribers (valid SIM cards) reached 30.4 mln (up 3.6 mln from November 2005, 16.5 mln from December 2004);
  • Penetration increased to 63.8% (up 7.5% from November 2005, 34.6% from December 2004);

Ukrainian Mobile Subscribers

Mobile Subscribers December 31, 2005 November 30, 2005
Total number of subscribers 30,379,116 26,823,941
Penetration 63.8% 56.4%

Our estimates for Astelit show significant market share gain in 2005 (9% as of December). However, considering quite liberal churn policy adopted by the company we maintain strong scepticism about the ability of all those subscribers to generate a reasonable revenue for Astelit.