Since the Mongolian Government’s telecommunications reform program in the mid-1990s, there has been effective liberalisation of all market segments, partial privatisation of the fixed-line incumbent operator, Mongolia Telecom, and establishment of an independent regulator. Mongolia acceded to the WTO in 1997.
Competition is in place for both fixed and mobile telephony including local, long-distance and international, internet, VoIP and VSATs. The internet market is a growing sector supported by government initiatives such as the e-Mongolia National Program and ICT Vision.
Although the fixed-line network is declining as per other markets in Asia, the mobile phone market has seen strong growth, spurred by the launch of 3G networks more recently and the increased popularity of smart phones. The national policy has been to have a competitive telecommunications segment with two CDMA and two GSM mobile telephone service operators. Accordingly, two additional mobile licences were awarded in 2005/06 to Unitel (GSM) and rural mobile operator G-Mobile (CDMA).
As part of the transition to a market-based economy, Mongolia committed itself to modernising its telecommunications network and steadily introducing advanced communications services. The government considers national infrastructure development as a high priority and, in particular, it has focused on the development of the telecom sector, seeing it as central to the overall development of the country, the improvement of living standards, increasing foreign investment, boosting tourism and private sector development, and implementation of innovative changes.
Market highlights: Cabinet approved Mongolia’s first satellite, highlighting the country’s ambitions for improving ICT and transforming into a knowledge-based economy. In addition to the satellite project, the National Broadband Programme is a government plan to ensure that over 50% of households have access to inexpensive broadband connections for bandwidth-intensive services, high-speed internet and television.
The government also plans for 40% of households in remote areas to have access to a wireless broadband service. Mongolia has been quickly rising through the ranks of global networking surveys. In the Networked Readiness Index 2011-12 released by the World Economic Forum, Mongolia achieved 63th place out of the 143 counties surveyed compared to 85th out of 138 nations in 2010-11.
Coverage in rural areas improved in 2013, with a World Bank-funded project creating a network of 152 satellite public telephones for herders in remote areas beyond the reach of mobile networks. 4G or long-term evolution (LTE) technologies were expected to be deployed in the next few years as the market shifts from traditional voice and message services and their associated declining margins, to a future revenue stream from services such as IPTV, high-speed mobile internet, VoIP, content and applications.
Mongolia key telecom parameters 2011 -2014
Sector | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 (e)
Internet users | 344,000 | 459,000 | 520,000 | 580,000
Fixed-line subscribers | 187,000 | 200,000 | 210,000 | 220,000
Mobile phone subscribers | 2.90 million | 3.40 million | 4.25 million | 4.50 million
Mobile penetration rate | 104% | 115% | 142% | 145%
Mongolia is a small country with predominantly basic telecommunications services. The report covers trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet and broadband. Subjects include:
Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Major players, subscribers;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV).