The Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge of the Higher School of Economics analyzed the demand for telecom 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.
At the beginning of the pandemic - in the second quarter of 2020 - fixed Internet traffic increased by 34.2% compared to the same period in 2019. It is almost 20 percentage points higher than in the previous three years. When the lockdown was lifted in the third quarter of last year, the rate decreased slightly and amounted to 31.8% compared to the same period of 2019. In 2020, an all-time record over the past five years was set - wired Internet traffic grew by 35% year over year (62 exabytes).
In general, the increase in mobile traffic in 2020 amounted to 47% (22.6 exabytes), which is lower than the grow rates of the previous years, when LTE coverage in Russia significantly increased. The changes in mobile traffic in the first three months of 2021 confirm that the demand for the fixed Internet is growing, while the growth rate of mobile traffic is decreasing - 34.5% compared to January - March 2020.
The number of mobile broadband subscribers in Russia at the end of 2020 amounted to 99.6 per 100 people of the population (+ 3.3% compared to 2019). Despite the steadily increasing growth rates, in 2020 the dynamics turned out to be the lowest in the last decade. Leading mobile operators in Russia - MTS and Beeline - claim that the closure of retail stores during lockdown, the fact that subscribers refuse to use second and third SIM cards, and the border closure, which reduced the connection of foreign citizens, are the main reasons for the decrease in the number of new subscribers.
In 2020, the prices for mobile services continued to grow. this trend became evident in the previous years, but during the pandemic, the growth slowed down. This was facilitated by the overall reduction in the number of subscribers of telecom operators and their desire to keep existing customers.
The Russian Government