Turn over in Georgia’s electronic communications market exceeded GEL 1 billion (USD 595 million) in 2006, up from GEL 715.5 million in 2005, the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) said in its annual report (available in Georgian).
The sector is worth 7.5% of the country’s GDP, up from 6.2% in 2005.
Mobile phone service providers lead the pack, with 65% of the total, as opposed to 59.4% in 2005. Fixed-line phone operators have 29.9%, down from 35.2% in 2005 and TV and radio broadcasters take 5.22% of the sector. In 2005, they held 4.43%.
Turn over for mobile phone operator companies in Georgia increased to GEL 650 million (USD 387 million) in 2006 from GEL 425 million (USD 337.4 million) in 2005.
The number of mobile phone users increased by 45%, reaching 1.7 million in 2006, according to the GNCC.
Geocell and MagtiCom had been the only mobile operator companies in Georgia for the past decade, but Russia’s VimpelCom entered the Georgian market in March under the Beeline brand name.
Fixed-line phone operators' turn over was up to GEL 299 million (USD 177.8 million) in 2006 from GEL 252 million (USD 140.7 million) in 2005. The number of service users increased slightly, reaching 553,000.
The total turn over for TV and radio companies increased from GEL 31.7 million (USD 17.7 million) in 2005 to GEL 52.2 million (USD 31 million) in 2006. “This sector has turned into a profitable business,” the GNCC report said.
There are a total of 37 TV stations in Georgia with six of them based in Tbilisi and 27 radio stations with 18 in Tbilisi.
Turn over for internet providers grew to GEL 26.15 million (USD 15.5 million), up from GEL 19.8 million (USD 11 million) in 2005.
The GNCC also reported an 81% increase in the number of internet users in Georgia, with 27,700 ADSL users registered in 2006.
Three major internet provider companies – Sanet, Georgia Online and Caucasus Net – merged last year to create a near monopoly with 90% of the market. Many users have complained about declining quality of service since the merger. Four other companies also operate in the market.