Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/20/2014 -- Executive summary
Despite its open telecom market Kyrgyzstan's internet sector is finding it difficult to grow.Note: Statistics in the tables included in this report were revised and updated in August 2013 with the latest available information at the time.
The telecommunications sector in Kyrgyzstan is characterised by an open market that has welcomed both foreign and domestic investors. This has been effectively done in accordance with the requirements set down by the WTO. Under the terms of the country's accession to the WTO (which took place in 1998), full liberalisation of the telecoms market had been expected to be achieved by end-2006. According to the ITU, Kyrgyzstan had implemented full competition across all segments of its telecoms sector by 2007. Nevertheless, despite the market being 'fully competitive' there remains mare to be done on the regulatory front to take full advantage of the reforms now in place. There also remains a culture of poor transparency in some aspects of corporate behaviour;
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this needs to be addressed if the telecom market is to reach its full potential.
The telecom sector has been part of the final phase of a large scale privatisation program that has been steadily progressing in the country since 1992. The start of market reforms in 1991 saw the state telecommunications agency, Kyrgyztelecom, begin to expand and upgrade its legacy telecom network, which at the time was out-dated and poorly distributed. With the expansion of the telecoms sector, upgraded standards have been adopted. At the same time, a new regulatory authority - the National Communications Agency which later became known as the National Agency for Information Resources, Technologies and Communication - was set up to oversee the sector. At an early stage, Kyrgyztelecom was restructured as a public corporation and the government moved towards a partial sale of the operator to the private sector. Around 10% of the company quickly passed into private hands. After a series of failed attempts to sell off the government shareholding, the government is still holding almost 78% of Kyrgyztelecom.
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