Landscape analysis

Unfortunately, innovations in the telecommunications sector are significantly underdeveloped in Ukraine. Due to constant underfunding and lack of political will to prioritize the sector, Ukraine lags behind in implementing technologies that have long been implemented in the west, at best. A good example in this relation is the introduction of 4G Internet connection that has been postponed in Ukraine by years compared to when it appeared in the West.

Apart from that, Ukraine has been actively developing e-governance in recent years, it is the cornerstone of public administration reform. Extensive instruments have been introduced to Ukrainians to simplify their communication with the state as well as to reduce red tape in these relations. At the same time, as much know-how, as has been invested in the sector, one can hardly say that these innovations amount to anything more than the implementation of western practices at their example.

An interesting tendency is a disparity between the number of patents obtained in the last decade and the practical impact it has had on Ukraine’s market. During the last ten years, international corporations, including Bayer, GE, Samsung, Qualcomm, and others, have obtained around 20,000 patents. The number of patents Ukrainians have had a hand in globally reached the stunning figure of 124,000. At the same time, in practice the above thrilling numbers translate into little progress. Several examples of the few success stories include Viewdle, face recognition software, and Looksery, specializing in the modification of streamline videos in real time.

Overall, innovation, as scarce as it is, is more prominent in civil engineering, pharmaceuticals, medicine, transport, and even agriculture rather than telecommunications which do not seem to be a priority at all. This may owe the two specific factors: First, as it has already been mentioned above, the sector requires significant amount of funding rarely available in Ukraine; second, Ukraine’s political background coupled with protracted conflict in the East of the country significantly reduce the will of foreign companies to enter the Ukrainian market.

An exception is the creation of the Ministry of Digital Transformation in 2019, which developed the DIYA mobile application (the abbreviation for “Government and I”). This program allows you to digitize a driver’s license, car registration certificate, ID-card and foreign passport. Modification of the application for business allows you to open or close a small business. One of the slogans of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was chosen in Ukraine in 2019, was to create a “state in a smartphone”.