Silence is gold: why Russians have reduced spending on mobile communications

    Synovate Comcon conducted a survey of mobile device users. Owners of smartphones and mobile phones in January-June began to spend less money on mobile communications. The costs of the former decreased by 9.3% to 486 rubles per month, and the expenses of the latter by 12%. On average, for half a year, Russians saved about 5.3% on mobile communications. The causes of what is happening, as it turned out, are not only the notorious crisis.

    Operators themselves in the heat of competition come up with "win-win" payment schemes, favorable tariffs, as well as all kinds of packages of services wholesale and retail. In this way, they really succeeded in attracting users, however, the revenue of telecom operators began to fall. The downfall also contributes to the equal zeal of market players from related segments that distribute free WiFi access points and free Internet messengers.

    Operator reports leave nothing for analysis except indicators such as the average bill on a SIM card or the average monthly bill ( ARPU ). In Moscow, for example, the number of registered sim cards exceeds the number of residents by more than two times. In MTS and "VimpelCom"ARPU year-on-year decreased by 3.3% and 1.5%, respectively.

    A slight decrease in VimpelCom’s ARPU is a consequence of the mass transfer of subscribers to package tariffs (almost 20% of subscribers now use them), as a result, the minute of the conversation fell in price, explains Anna Aibasheva, the operator’s representative. An employee of one of the cellular companies believes that ARPU also declined due to international roaming. Russians began to travel abroad less. And those who leave prefer to do this without unnecessary conversations.

    VimpelCom, however, did not lose so much, since the decline in indicators for one income item was offset by growth in another. Operator revenue from mobile data transmission increased by 19%. Dmitry Solodovnikov also said that MTS also had a shift in revenue towards mobile data transfer.

    The representative of Megafon Tatyana Zvereva is in no hurry to agree with the results of the study. She admits that among subscribers the share of smartphone users is growing and the share of mobile phone lovers is decreasing. Synovate Comcon data indicate a peculiar "cycle" of gadget users: at the end of June 2015, 49% of Russian subscribers used smartphones. This is 14 pp more than last year. And the share of phone users decreased by the same amount and amounted to 53%. However, some Russians turned out to be fans of both gadgets, which explains the distribution of shares with an amount of more than 100%.

    In the Megafon network, the level of penetration of data-transmitting devices approached 50% in the second quarter of 2015, and the share of smartphones in the sales of its branded stores has already reached 65%, Zvereva said.

    Managing Partner of AC&M Consulting Mikhail Alekseev believes that stagnation in revenue of Russian operators is expected. Referring to the experience of developed countries, he predicts a further drop in demand for operator services, which can be replaced by Internet applications. In Spain, already in 2013, more than half of subscribers did not use SMS at all. Russian operators are still ahead, Alekseev believes.

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