Ukraine customers happy about fast new 3G service
Ukrainian subscribers to the country’s three main mobile operators – Kyivstar, MTS and life:) – have taken advantage of speedier 3G coverage in Kyiv and hundreds of other cities since May. All of Ukraine will have 3G coverage by autumn 2016.
MTS said 180,000 subscribers have upgraded to the 3G data plan, but Kyivstar and life:) refused to supply numbers. But judging from MTS figure alone, Ukrainians seem to be willing to pay higher tariffs for the rapid mobile Internet that liberates them from Wi-Fi dependency.
One Kyivstar customer said that “life got so much better with 3G in Kyiv.” The switch to 1.5 GB of Internet 3G traffic costs him Hr 95.
Customers report being able to use Google Chrome, Google Maps, Skype and other mobile applications on smartphones without having to wait 10 minutes before the data fully loads. 3G coverage, however, doesn’t exist in the Kyiv metro yet.
Kyivstar has launched 3G coverage in Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa and other cities with tariffs varying from Hr 55 to Hr 150 for 0.5 GB to 2.5 GB of Internet data. When a customer uses up the allotted gigabytes, he can still use the regular mobile Internet, but at a slower speed.
Dmitry Chaplinsky, a software developer from Kyiv, uses 3G provided by MTS and pays Hr 90 a month for 2 GB. He uses Skype and Viber outdoors, though he complains he can’t hear people on line very well. “The speed is not very fast, but it is already progress compared to EDGE network,” he says, referring to earlier coverage capability.
MTS Ukraine currently has the largest 3G coverage in Ukraine, supplying over 900 cities. It offers two tariff plans that provide 2.5 GB of 3G Internet data traffic for Hr 70 or Hr 90 a month. For unlimited data traffic, MTS offers the Ultra VIP 3G for Hr 949 a month.
Roman Dzigovskiy, the head of public relations at the Lviv mobile game development company Nravo, uses 3G provided by life:). He uses a tariff plan that gives him 2 GB at Hr 95 a month. A 10-minute-long Skype call costs Dzigovskiy about 50 MB of data traffic. But he plans to switch to a 4 GB plan. “This way it will be guaranteed that I have enough data traffic,” he says. But he would prefer to pay more for unlimited data traffic.
Life:) so far only provides 3G in Kyiv and Lviv with tariff plans ranging from Hr 55 to Hr 150 monthly.
According to Serhiy Huliayev, marketing director for life:), the average monthly Internet consumption by its subscribers is about 140 MB, which is why the operator offers tariff plans with more limited volume.
But life:) subscriber Ksenia Mure wants more. “It seems to be enough, but will it be enough for the whole month?” she asks. “This is a question without an answer so far.”
Kyivans browse the Internet on their smartphones at a centrally located restaurant in Kyiv on June 25. (Volodymyr Petrov)