The first Caspian and Central Asia telecommunication
Conference was in Istanbul on the 22-24th of May 2002.
The World giants of telecommunication
market took part in the first Caspian Conference, besides the Ministers
and top managers of the governmental bodies of the region. Delegates
of United Nations (UN), World Bank, and European Union (EU), International
Telecommunication Union (ITU), EBRD and related associations had also
given colour to the event.
are the main factor that regulates the socioeconomic level of the countries
and Caspian Telecoms Conference is an important opportunity for the
development of the telecom market of the region.
| The monthly
telecom magazine of Turkey ‘Telepati’ took part in the Conference
as a media partner, while ‘The Times’ was the Official Media Sponsor
of the organization.
The delegates from financial associations and international companies
made presentations about the investment on the infrastructure
and development of telecom market in the region.
The Chairman of ITE Group Plc., Steven Warsaw, underline the importance
of Turkey at the region and high rate and quality of the participants
for the first event in its class, in his opening speech. He also
added that, “The cooperation of the countries and the participation
of Ministers and high level management show us that, there is
a serious need of such a meeting. The acceptance of the event
indicates the priority of Information and Communication Technologies
At the opening; the Assistant General Secretary
of ITU Roberto Blois, made a short review of the results of World Telecommunication
Conference which was done by ITU for a few months ago. During the conference,
round-table meetings were organized between the region countries and
ITU. General regulations related to the region, rules and regulations
about the sub-sectors of telecom sector were the main subjects of the
||The Minister of Transport and Telecommunications
of Turkey Dr. Oktay Vural, gave an opening speech also. He said
that, “Caspian Telecoms Conference is an important opportunity
for the whole region. A right model for the telecom infrastructure
will improve the life style of all countries of the region. The
cooperation in the telecom market will add value to the economical
potential of the region. Dr. Vural added that, “The ‘digital divide’
in the region countries has to turn into a ‘Digital chance’. Regional
countries have to get benefit from the experiences and know-how
of Turk Telecom that had been gained for years. He also insisted
on founding a research and development institute for the region
and repeating the event annually”.
%97.85. Number of cable TV subscriber is 907.000.
There are 20 million mobile subscribers in Turkey. Turkey is in the
first place in mobile service usage and in the second place Internet
usage in Caspian region.
| Turkey is the most leading country
in the region concerning its market size; Turkey is also guiding
Caspian Region because of its strong market position. In the meeting,
the member of Board of Telecommunications Authority of the Republic
of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Rasit Gulhan gave a speech.
He gave information about the processes and activities in the
Authority. In compliance with ETSI standards, Turkish telecommunication
market has been reorganizing and become more competitive in the
25 ISPs has been licensed so far by the Authority. Also, there
are ongoing activities concerning MMS, wideband Internet Access
and Tetra systems licensing. Turkey is the only country in the
region having the Regulatory Agency.
General Manager of Turk Telekom, Mr. Ibrahim H. Akturk said that
Turk Telekom is the 13th biggest operator in the world. Number
of Turk Telekom’s line capacity is 21,508,886 and number of fixed
line subscribers is 18,949,512. Subscriber density is %28.32,
number of PSTN line capacity is 161,808. Digitalization of Exchanges
rate is %88.80. Between Exchanges digitalized transmission rate
One of the leading countries in the region is Russia. In Russia, by
sampling European telecommunications regulations, there is a target
of having an international operator handling telecom services in the
country. Alcatel Middle-East Europe and Russia Region Representative,
Mr. Jan Glinski said that although there is a huge investment opportunity
in the country, the country can not develop as much rapidly as expected
causing a danger of losing their existing potential.
The process of forming rules and regulations is not going fast. Mobile
services are easily accessible and a strong element of regional development.
Because of climate, satellite services are being used. There is also
a cable connection to Turkey and Kazakhstan.
Chairman of Communication and Information Committee Mr. Askar Esengarayev
said that, there is positive impact of telecom developments in the
region to Kazakh telecom market. He also gave information about Kazakh
telecom market. At the end of 2001, number of fixed telephone lines
is 2 million, and telephone network capacity is 2.4 million lines.
International telephone traffic arrived %18 in total calls in 2001,
at the beginning of 2002, the number of mobile subscribers was 800.000
and GSM market increased %28. In Kazakhstan, the market value of telecom
increased from USD 250 million in 1998 to USD 800 million in 2002.
There are more than 700 licences for telecom services given and the
biggest development is on Internet market. 130 ISPs have been licensed.
Internet has got %7 of the overall market. GSM and CDMA mobile communication
services comprises of %25 of the overall market. There are 4 GSM operators
in Kazakhstan. Where digital broadcasting infrastructure is in progress,
national operators and Ministry has been developing national satellite
network to reach the urban areas. Liberalization is being realized
gradually and regulations are under construction.
Technical Managing Director of Turkmenistan Communication Ministry
Mr. Bedri Mamedov said that, there has been USD 60 million worth foreign
investment to nurture the market for 10 years. In the country, from
International Exchange in the Ashgabat, there are direct links to
the neighbours and also satellite and digital wireless relay communication
lines to Turkey, Russia, Iran, Italia, and USA. Country’s first network
is being modernized in the country. 3 provinces of Turkmenistan are
connected to each other via TAE fibre optic network. The digitalization
rate is 29% in the country. In addition, since April 1997, national
televisions have been broadcasting digitally by satellites. 34 telecom
companies serving different areas have been licensed in the country.
There is one telecom operator serving in the country. The General
Manager of Uzbek Telecom Mr. Hakim Mukhitdinov said that, they aim
to increase their communication standards to integrate their market
to world market and also they have been working with foreign partners
on some regulation issues. Uzbek Telecom has more than 1.5 million
subscribers. The usage of telecom capacity is %85, and in 2001 more
than 88.000 fixed lines had added. In the country, fibre optic cables
have been used in general. Number of mobile subscribers of Uzbekistan
was 5,000 at the beginning of 2002. There are 2 ground satellite stations
in the country. One of the most prioritized issues in the country
is privatization. To develop the privatization program they are working
with Commerzbank. There are some regulations to protect the rights
of the foreign investment. Because of these regulations, new services
are being developed and the market became more competitive. In 2002,
infrastructure and hardware modernization program has been accepted.
There are few steps in the project and the first one is digitalization.
Digitalization rate is %33. Also ISDN services are available in Tashkent.
With Trans-Asia link, which was constructed in 1998, the country has
a data communication line from China to Germany. There are some new
activities concerning IP telephony, database programs, and wireless
There has been only one operator in the country called Aztelecom since
1992. General Director of Aztelecom Mr. Nazým Dzhafarov said that,
USD 465 million worth investment in telecommunication market and also
he gave some information about developments in telecom market since
1991. One of the most important projects is TAE international fibre
optic main cable system which was started in 1999. To improve Internet
services, in Coba, Shaki, Gandja, Sungayit, Lankaran, Masalli, Mingachevir
and Absheron, some Internet clubs have been developed between Intercity
Exchange and Bakinnet having 2 Mb/s capacity.. According to Aztelecom
contractual management plan; infrastructure is covering central and
urban areas with 54 telephone Exchanges.
The representative of PT Ministry Mr. Ali Kermanshah said that, telecom
sector have been restructuring and reorganizing consistently with
the rate of population growth and they formed an independent regulatory
body by getting support from ITU. He said that they decided to establish
a company which will be responsible from infrastructure and services.
At the beginning of 2002, in the country, the number of fixed lines
was 12 million, the number of GSM subscribers was 2 million, the number
of Internet subscribers was 1.5 million, and the number of ISS was
200. Basic telecom services were settled in 90% of the rural areas
of the country. 2000 Km long fibre link is being used in Iran. According
to 2000-2004 development plans, privatization will be realized. There
are VoIP services in Iran but the regulations of these services are
still under construction. Fixed telephone regulation laws were completed.
General Director of Georgia Telecom Mr. Guram Khmaladze said that,
Georgia Telecom development depends on its reconstruction based on
new services and new technologies. New 10 telecom companies have come
into the market from 1995 to 2002. Although regulations have not been
completed so far, causing insignificant market development; last 4
years, the market shows strong attack. Now, Georgia Telecom has 89%
of market share. In the country, the fixed telephone lines owning
rate in public is %13.
Assistant of Consultant of Communication Ministry of Kyrgyzstan Mr.
Samsaly Alymkulov said that, first telecom project was realized in
1996 which aimed to install telecom network throughout the country.
With this project, the national telecom market picture has been drawn
and national strategy has been defined. Administrative and regulation
bodies have been hold separately in the country. Regulations are being
realized by the independent government unit. Digitalization projects
are ongoing and the sector has been rallying since 1996. In 2002,
%51 of Kyrgyzstan Telecom shares was privatized.
General Director of Tajik Telecom Mr. Said Zuvaidov said that, the
war and other negative developments after the declaration of independency
have delayed the market development. He also said that their telecom
network is based on analogue transmission. In the country, more than
one of third of total telecom lines got old. Structural changes and
constitutional reforms are being realized to attract foreign investment
and to develop the market. The liberalization of mobile communication
and Internet services has been started in 1996 and there are 3 operators
working in these areas. Internet and IP telephony services have been
given by 4 companies. Because of the country’s hard geographical conditions,
mobile, wireless and satellite systems are being used. In this subject
there is collaboration with Gilat to enlarge GAMA network. Because
of the financial difficulties, country has a close collaboration with
European Bank of Restructuring and Development.