Labor diversification in the telecom market. An article in the National Business Quarterly magazine


Labor diversification in the telecom market. An article in the National Business Quarterly magazine

The telecommunications market of Kazakhstan today is not as straightforward as it might seem at first glance. On the one hand, the market shows stable growth, it grew even during the crisis (the growth rates simply fell). On the other hand, difficult processes are going on in the market. The development of technologies entails both an aggravation of price competition, and the need for constant investment in new equipment, in personnel training. Not everyone can withstand such pressure: in recent years, the balance of power in the telecommunications market has changed markedly, many players have left the arena. A few years ago, the telecommunications market of Kazakhstan could boast of an impressive number of serious players - in addition to Kazakhtelecom, these were companies such as ASTEL, Nursat, KazTransCom, Transtelecom, TNS Plus, SA Telcom, 2Day Telecom, KATELCO and others.


Today the market has shrunk noticeably, and the players have become larger: it became more difficult for small companies to work, and it was easier for large companies to develop and capture new niches to buy already operating companies with ready-made infrastructure, licenses and a team. The main buyers were Kazakhtelecom and KaR-Tel. Recently, the parent company of the cellular operator GSM-Kazakhstan (Kcell trademark), TeliaSonera, bought Alem Communications for $ 170 million and a minority stake in the trunk operator KazTransCom for $ 35 million. As a result, the current composition of players is still the same national operator Kazakhtelecom (which bought Nursat and a number of other assets, some of which have already been successfully sold), KazTransCom and Transtelecom (a subsidiary of the national company), KaR-Tel (operating under the Beeline brand and part of the Vympelcom group of companies, which also included such companies as TNS Plus, SA Telcom, 2Day Telecom) and ASTEL.


All these companies, except for ASTEL, are the owners of large fiber-optic networks. At the same time, the main asset of ASTEL, even though the company owns the largest satellite network, is extremely rich experience and unique expertise in the field of telecommunications. By and large, ASTEL is a unique phenomenon in today's communications market. This is the only company that does not have its own ground infrastructure and, at the same time, not only did not leave the race, but is also successfully developing. The secret of success, perhaps, lies in the professionalism of the team and extraordinary management solutions (for example, last year ASTEL, being a satellite operator, entered into partnership agreements with ground operators and repositioned itself into a kind of "communications studio" that is able to solve any client's problem in the field of telecom ).


But not all companies are doing well, even those that have gone under someone's wing. And if, for example, such companies as TNS Plus or 2Day Telecom, having lost their independence, continue to work successfully, meeting the needs of the parent company, having a stable "order", then Nursat does not feel so confident. But before ASTEL and Nursat were almost twins: both companies are satellite operators, with a similar satellite network infrastructure, similar activities (even both once had web studios). But today there is a huge gap between the companies. Financial indicators speak about him most eloquently (perhaps this is the most objective measure in market conditions): ASTEL's net profit in 2011 amounted to 890 million tenge, showing an increase of almost 40% compared to the previous year, while Nursat earned only about 70 million tenge, but this was also a great achievement for the company, since it ended 2010 with a loss of 100 million tenge. Those. while ASTEL shows steady development and growth, outstripping the market (the entire communication services market grew by 18.7% in 2011), Nursat is fighting to, in principle, become a plus. It is obvious that in this struggle there is a certain the administrative resource of the parent company, Kazakhtelecom, will also play a role. But how effective will such methods be? After all, the presence of an administrative resource is a powerful trump card in conditions of tough market competition, and this, as you know, is very relaxing. However, the customer today, whoever he is - a private company or a government agency - needs a high-quality solution to the tasks facing him. And only a strong and stable team of professionals can provide quality. Whether Nursat is such a team today is a big question.


The company has been in great fever lately: management is often changed, the staff is reduced, there are talks about the closure of some branches. In general, the fate of Nursat in the group of companies of Kazakhtelecom JSC is not very clear. As you know, in early 2010 Kazakhtelecom announced its desire to sell its 77.08% stake in Nursat JSC. There were no buyers. In an interview at the end of 2010, the chairman of the board of Kazakhtelecom JSC, Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev, explained this by the insufficient attractiveness of Nursat: “Now we are working to make the company more interesting to buy. For this, we are revising the strategy of its development. ... Many people think that Kazakhtelecom and Nursat are doing the same thing. And now I have set the task of management to dispel this stereotype. Because investors are worried about the question: if Nursat goes to another owner, will it have a potential subscriber base? Thus, the sale of this asset requires the development of Nursat itself and general economic growth. " And when asked about the failure of Nursat's financial performance, Mr. Yessekeyev replies: “It is not worth talking about some unqualified actions of the management. Rather, the problem is precisely that Nursat and Kazakhtelecom operate on the same markets - this has happened historically.


 Therefore, now it is necessary to start active market activity in some niche segments where there is no Kazakhtelecom. use a similar JET service from Altel (100% owned by Kazakhtelecom JSC). But, apparently, it is also impossible to repurpose Nursat - later in 2011, the then head of Nursat, Anuar Aubakirov, in an interview with Expert magazine, spoke of the company exclusively as an Internet provider and only as "strategic prospects" - on the creation of a satellite technology center of the Kazakhtelecom JSC group of companies. That is, in essence, we are talking about an attempt to revive Nursat as a satellite operator to meet the internal needs of the group. It is unlikely that such an approach will make the company a strong player in the competitive market. So, the backbone of today's telecom market in Kazakhstan is represented by five companies: Kazakhtelecom, Transtelecom, KazTransCom, KaR-Tel and ASTEL.


At the same time, Kazakhtelecom, as the owner of the most developed ground channel infrastructure, is primarily an “operator for operators”. Well, being a national company, it works in the retail market, providing services to the population. Transtelecom and KazTransCom, initially being niche players (the first in providing communication on the railroad for Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, the second in the oil and gas sector), are trying to monetize their networks as much as possible by entering new markets. KaR-Tel operates in the retail market, offering cellular communication and Internet access services, as well as selling channel capacity to other operators. ASTEL, being the owner of the largest satellite network in Kazakhstan, consisting of more than 2500 base stations, at the same time is a partner of all the above-mentioned companies and unites all of them.