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Mongolia: Mongolia Communication Profile 2012






Mongolia Communication Profile 2012

Telecoms, Mobile & Internet
Since the Mongolian Government's telecommunications reform program in the mid-1990s, there has been effective liberalisation of all market segments, partial privatization of the fixed-line incumbent operator, Mongolia Telecom, and establishment of an independent regulator. Mongolia acceded to the WTO in 1996.

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 small but growing sector. Government initiatives such as the e-Mongolia National Program are helping to spread Internet awareness and usage throughout the country. While the fixed-line network has been expanding slowly, the mobile phone market has undergone a remarkable boom, with the number of subscribers growing at an average rate of over 100% year-on-year for a number of years.

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 telecoms 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.

Key highlights: Not all areas of Mongolia are connected to the Internet. However, good progress has been made, with most universities and research institutes, government organisations, agencies, banks, and companies in Ulaanbaatar being online.

Market penetration continues to remain strong in the urban centres. Although, the rural sector is catching up with over 50% of provincial centres having high speed Internet access. Although approximately 80% of Internet users still use narrowband connections, the number of e-commerce services such as e-banking, online shopping, and e-services are slowly being established in Mongolia.

This is partly attributed to a government initiative established in 2005 called the One Home One PC program providing low-cost computers for around US$250. As a result, nationwide PC penetration increased by 60% and continues to rise steadily. In what is promising to be Mongolia's first real broadband network, MCS Electronics started implementing a two-year Fibre to the Building (FttB) project covering all Ulaanbaatar districts, major buildings, hotels, schools, and government houses.

Poor infrastructure for fixed-line phones has contributed to the explosive growth of Mongolia's mobile industry, with the number of subscribers growing at an average rate of over 100% year-on-year. Subscribers are primarily in urban areas - 85% of all subscribers are in Ulaanbaatar.

In April 2009 MobiCom launched the first high-speed mobile broadband network in the country, making use of HSPA technology. The company plans to introduce mobile broadband services to its subscribers across Mongolia, starting in the capital Ulaanbaatar where about 40% of the country's 3 million inhabitants live. MobiCom plans to offer a range of new services, such as high-speed mobile Internet access, video telephony, MMS and other innovative multimedia services related to e-health and e-commerce.


The fund was set up for the purpose of bringing telecommunications to rural and remote areas, at the same time expanding services and improving service quality. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2011.

Renewed efforts in early 2009 to complete the privatisation of Mongolia Telecom. The operator continued to provide services throughout the country by leasing network assets from the Posts and Telecommunications Authority, which owned the infrastructure.

Although Mongolia Telecom had been a very profitable company throughout most of the 1990s, the advent of mobile competition, international IP telephony providers and later on the substitution of international SMS for voice, all had a negative impact on its profit margins. By 2008 the major portion of its revenue was being gained through international telephone calls where the regulations meant it faced no competition.

Mongolia is a small country with predominantly basic telecommunications services.

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