Experts: 3G telecommunications to boost IT-business development in Ukraine

Experts: 3G telecommunications to boost IT-business development in Ukraine
February 24, 2015.

Kyiv, February 24, 2015 – Successful tender for auctioning of 3G licenses in Ukraine is an achievement of the whole society that enables introduction of new services in Ukraine. Experts in the telecommunications industry and representatives of the mobile operators expressed such a view during a round table discussion at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. On 23 February the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization named companies that will receive the licenses for communication in UMTS standard (3G) on February 23. life:) became the winner of the first lot, with MTS-Ukraine and Kyivstar as the second and third forerunners respectively.

Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, reminded that Ukraine has to secure the access of the broadband Internet to 25 users per 100 people against the 8 per 100 today according to the “Ukraine-2020” strategy. “We had a task to introduce the broadband connection in the shortest term possible. And we did it. True, we wished to do this faster. The main issue for now is the very fact that the tender has happened. It is the achievement of the entire civil society,” Mr. Shymkiv noted.

Petro Chernyshov, president of Kyivstar, said he is convinced that the 3G connection will allow the mobile operators to introduce a wide variety of new services. However, their development rests with the competence of IT-business. “There are many small IT firms in Ukraine; they are ready to create 3G-based services,” Petro Chernyshov said.

Ilya Kenigshtein, managing partner at the Hybrid Capital venture capital fund, noted that 3G is one of the positive signals for the IT-developers to stay in Ukraine. “It may stimulate the development of mobile services in tourism and entertainment sectors, as well as new programs for instant messaging like Viber and so forth.” Jaanika Merilo, Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, supported the notion. She noted that 3G standard is merely an intermediary element that enhances the development of the IT industry on the one hand, and opens access to the services for the people and state authorities on the other. “We need to move further in the direction; everything what we do should be converted into electronic versions. Appropriate services should be created. But it is not going to work if we do not provide the broadest access to the Internet for ordinary people. 3G standard should fulfill this function in Ukraine,” noted Jaanika Merilo.

At the same time, Oleh Prozhyvalsky, MTS Ukraine Head of Corporate Administration and Control, was less optimistic. He said that the nationwide introduction of 3G standards will start in about six, while the competition’s requirement to ensure 3G access in every regional center in the next 18 months is hardly feasible. Mr. Prozhyvalsky named three reasons for that. Firstly, these are bureaucratic obstacles, namely the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization has to develop and agree a lot of legal documents with mobile operators. Secondly, access to the currency resources is difficult due to the hard economic situation in the country. Thirdly,frequency conversion procedure is going to take some time as well.

Replying on the question regarding MNP, Mr. Yayla stressed that for effective implementation of MNP  it should be free of charge, easily accessible and fully reflects the interests of subscribers. That is why life:) expects the concrete further steps from the regulator in this direction. Also, Mr. Yayla expects that the fair competition on the Ukrainian 3G market will support the implementation of 3G tariffs affordable for all types of subscribers including the heavy users of mobile internet. Separately, Mr. Yayla stressed that 3G implementation will fully support the digital agenda of Ukraine as well as the launch of electronic governance.

Other speakers at the round table included:

Ivan Zolochevsky – MTS Ukraine General Director

Olena Minich – expert on the telecommunications sector in Ukraine and the EU

Oleksandr Fediyenko – board member of the Internet Association of Ukraine

Erdal Yayla – life:) acting CEO