Telecom KZ: Always in Reach
The telecommunication sector is a key component of the infrastructure complex. Saken Sarsenov, Vice Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Kazakhstan, shares with the Kazakhstan magazine the current situation in the sector and what objectives the Government sets before the sector for its further development.
Speaking on the main performance indicators of the domestic telecommunications sector, we can provide the following figures. According to the Agency for Statistics, today, the fixed line density is 26 subscribers per 100 inhabitants in Kazakhstan that is 4.296 million subscribers, and the Internet users density is 53.5 users per 100 inhabitants, or 8,868,000 users.
For our part, we continue working to provide access for the population to the most advanced communications services. In 2011 the wholesale prices of the Internet for communications providers were down by 2.2 times. Starting from January 1st of the current year the prices went even lower to 35% with traffic taken into account and to 27% without taking it into account. Moreover, last year, the speed of traffic for popular price plans increased twice without raising the monthly fee for the consumers. In 2012, the cost of connecting to the Internet has reduced by 6%, the fee for popular Megaline price plans by 10%, and the speed of Internet access in rural areas was doubled without increasing the monthly fee.
Similar work was carried out with the mobile network operators. In 2011 a per-second billing was introduced, the connection fee was canceled, and calls within the network reduced by 33%. Along with that, in 2012, the rate of interconnect between the operators decreased by 10%.
In addition, operators reduced considerably the minimum prices for calls within the network, and for calls to subscribers of other operators in Kazakhstan. Today companies offer new regional price plans that provide for a single price for all directions that is 6–7 tenge per minute. Also, in some regions of the country the price per minute within the network is 1 tenge.
This year, our ministry has planned to carry out examination of prices set for mobile network services by the major operators. Its results will show the possibility of a further reduction in prices. I think the potential for development of the mobile network market remains high, particularly of mobile Internet services.
In a wired connection instead of the current five zones, depending on the distance, it is planned to introduce a two-zone principle of pricing of intra-zone and inter-city calls. Thus, the principle of charging simplifies and the final price for the consumers reduces. This will allow the subscribers to save on wireline services.
To provide the population with broadband access to the Internet network of the Kazakhtelecom Company and 2DayTelecom, the construction of networks using the FTTH/FTTB technologies is now in progress in large cities and regional centers, the completion of which is scheduled by the year 2015.
As for the coverage of the rural areas, the rural population will get broadband access to the Internet thanks to implementation of the CDMA-450/EVDO-800 project. To date, 505 base stations that cover 86% of rural settlements have been installed and put into service. The plans are to complete this project before the end of 2013. 900 base stations, which will provide 100% coverage of the rural areas, will be installed as part of this project.
The mobile telecommunication services of the third generation (3G) are introduced in the mobile networks. They cover all the regional centers of the country and the cities of Astana and Almaty. It is expected that in the period from 2013 to 2014 the 3G services will be provided to residents of district centers and inhabited localities with the population totaling 10,000 people or more. Moreover, in 2012, the creation of networks for the 4G mobile telecom services has already started in Kazakhstan. Before December 10 of this year it is planned to carry out testing of the 4G pilot zones in Astana and Almaty, and by the end of 2013, these networks will be deployed in all regional centers, and by 2018 in all district centers of Kazakhstan.