The FINANCIAL — The average Georgian spends 182.73 minutes a month talking on their phone. The annual number of text messages sent makes up approximately 1,100. Comparative figures of May 2016 and May 2015 have shown a drop in minutes of usage and number of SMS by over 2% and 11% respectively.
According to OECD Communications Outlook 2013, Georgians have been spending much more time talking on their phones than Germans (78 minutes as of 2011); Japanese (91 minutes); Spaniards (115 minutes) and Italians (118 minutes). Georgians were talking over 120 minutes per month as of that time. The leaders of the survey were the US and Canada where average mobile phone subscribers talked for 356 and 345 minutes respectively.
As faster wireless networks enable us to use IP-based voice and messaging services such as Skype, Facetime and Whatsapp, wireless carriers have witnessed a decline in calltime minutes, formerly their main source of revenue. Monthly minutes of usage (MOU) per subscriber in Georgia for May 2016 was 182.73, or approximately 6 minutes per day. The duration was 199.126 minutes (6.6 minutes per day) in May 2015, or over 2% less.
Increased penetration of smartphones contributes to growing rates of use of free alternatives to SMS. OTT mobile messaging applications now constitute a significant threat to telecommunications carriers’ SMS-messaging revenues. During January-May 2016 the number of text messages totalled 2,101,009,928. The number was 2,371,947,344 as of the same five months of the prior year. Comparing these figures shows a reduction by 11.42%.
Georgians send over 3 text messages per day as of May 2016. The approximate annual number of SMS amounts to 1,100.
The number of text messages sent during the first five months of 2016 per each operator is distributed as follows: Magticom – 934,112,360; Geocell – 799,261,426; Mobitel (Beeline) – 367,035,790; Silknet – 593,407; and, GeMobile – 6,945.
A total of 1,095,464,817 text messages were sent by Magticom subscribers during January-May 2015. Geocell counted 930,164,969; Mobitel – 344,786,339; and, Silknet – 1,531,219.
In line with the reducing number of text messages, mobile operators have seen a drop in income from this service.
SMS revenue for mobile operators amounted to GEL 9,190,530.52 as of January-May 2016, down from GEL 11,761,039.94 from the same period of the previous year. Revenue of Magticom amounted to GEL 4,903,793 during the first five months of 2016, down from 5,731,457 as of January-May 2015. Geocell earned GEL 2,962,898.91 this year, down from GEL 3,905,655.94. The profit of Mobitel amounted to GEL 1,315,992, down from GEL 2,111,019 as of the first five months of 2015. Silknet has seen a reduction in revenue by GEL 5,653.07 this year and totalled GEL 7,254.93.
The number of subscribers as of May 2016 has totalled 4,672,258, down from 4,791,573 as of May 2015. With 1,958,390 Magticom is the market leader with the number of subscribers during the current year. It is followed by Geocell – 1,538,730; Mobitel – 1,151,807; Silknet – 22,964, and GlobalCell – 367. Current leader Magticom was the only company that managed to increase the number of users this year, in comparison with May 2015. The company has 1,834,601 subscribers as of May 2015. Meanwhile, Geocell has seen a drop in users by 167,956. The number of users of Mobitel has been reduced by 71,128. As for Silknet, the company has seen a decrease by 3,956 users as of May 2016, compared to May 2015.
Retail revenue of mobile operators amounted to GEL 159,815,595.23 for January-May 2016, down from GEL 162,045,764.28 from the same period of the prior year. In line with increasing number of subscribers, the volume of revenue of Magticom has increased this year, compared with the previous one. The retail revenue of Magticom has totalled GEL 74,106,665 this year, up from GEL 69,139,171. Revenue of Geocell was 56,048,233.13, down from GEL 60,797,377.28. Mobitel has seen a GEL 2,346,289 reduction this year, counting GEL 29,089,615. As for Silknet, the revenue of the company has amounted to GEL 563,259.11, down from GEL 673,312 as of January-May 2015.
The number of standard mobile internet subscribers was 1,659,755 for May 2016. The figure was 1,465,567 during the same month of the prior year. With 704,466 Geocell is the leader with the largest number of mobile internet subscribers in May 2016. It is followed by Magticom – 664,586; Mobitel – 290,145; Silknet – 335; and GeMobile – 223.
According to GNCC, the number of mobile subscribers amounted to 5.6 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. The number was 2.8% (or 149,000 users) more than the figure of the fourth quarter of 2014.
The market share of Magticom by number of mobile phone users was 37.6% at the end of 2015. Geocell made up 36.3%; Mobitel – 25.6%, and Silknet – 0.5%.
Retail revenue of mobile operators consisted of GEL 401 million in 2015. The sum was GEL 54 million (or 11.8%) less than in 2014. The reduction has been mostly caused by cost reduction on voice services.
The market share of Magticom by retail revenue amounted to 43.7%. It was followed by Geocell – 36.8%; Mobitel – 19.1%; and, Silknet – 0.4%.
62.4% of retail revenue was contributed by voice service; SMS – 5.8%; internet – 4.1%; and, other services – 24.9%.
In line with the increasing number of smartphone users and online phone subscribers, the number of companies creating mobile applications for the purpose of staying in touch with their customers is increasing in Georgia. Customers are becoming more active in demanding applications of their favourite companies for their mobile phones as well.
According to the recent report of The FINANCIAL, there were about 200,000 iPhone users in Georgia and around 21,000 Android and Windows-operated smartphones currently registered in Geocell’s network as of 2014. Mobile app Georgia Android gives a list of all the most popular android apps and games for Georgia, uniting more than 200 apps in one place.
Among the most popular apps are those offered by the leading banks TBC Bank, Bank of Georgia, Bank Republic and Liberty Bank. They allow users to carry out banking operations directly from their phones, pay utility costs and make transfers.
Other popular apps offered by Silknet include: Ibaby; Iota Reader; Myvideo.ge; Kinoshi (showing movie listings and showtimes for Tbilisi’s cinemas); GPC mobile app; Taripebi.ge (provides users with the best currency exchange rates and the best fuel prices available in Georgia); and, Tbilisi Metro.