The mandatory lockdowns have forced people in Kazakhstan to spend more time online. Internet providers, as a result, have generated the huge sum of 102.7 billion tenge (US$247.9 million) among other telecom services between January and April in Kazakhstan, growing from 90.6 billion tenge (US$217.9 million) in the same period in 2019, according to FinProm business and finance analytical website.
Internet providers accounted for 37 percent of the total communication services in the country, in fact, the total volume of communication services amounted to 281.5 billion tenge (US$679.5 million) from January to April, 11.6 percent more than over the same period in 2019.
Mobile services are second-ranking in 74.6 billion tenge (US$180.1 million), which accounts for 26.5 percent of total communications services.
With a significant gap, wired and wireless data transmission services generated 17.2 billion tenge (US$41.5 million).
The number of fixed Internet subscribers reached 2.6 million, growing 3.7 percent over the year, while the number of mobile subscribers decreased to 24.5 million.
Olzhas Tuleuov, managing director at the Applied Economic Research Centre and author of Kazakhstan’s popular Tengenomika Telegram channel, believes that the internet services sector will be the clear winner of the pandemic, unlike the service sector that was hit by the lockdown measures the hardest.
“Remote work, the need for businesses to communicate with customers online and other factors associated with the coronavirus pandemic in Kazakhstan, did not reduce the demand for communication, but in fact increased it in some cases,” wrote Tuleuov in his Telegram channel.
“In general, the communications industry in Kazakhstan is currently experiencing the best growth period it has had since the beginning of 2015. So, in the first quarter of this year, the index of the physical volume of communication services in the country grew 10-11 percent, which is the best value they have had over the past five years,” he added.
The government is also continuing to expand access to broadband internet, as part of its Digital Kazakhstan programme. The programme’s total economic effect exceeded 600 billion tenge (US$1.58 billion) for 2018 and 2019.
The country’s 118 cities and 4,325 villages currently have access to broadband internet services, including networks of fibre optic lines that are either 3G or 4G.