Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/26/2014 -- Executive summary
A recovering economy helps boost overall growth in Azerbaijan's broadband sector
Coming into 2013 Azerbaijan's mobile subscriber numbers had passed the 10 million milestone (107% penetration). After more than a decade of very strong growth, the rate of expansion had moderated to around 10% per annum by 2011 and continuing in this mode in 2012/2013. Operator Azercell continues to lead the market, but its earlier dominance was being slowly eroded and market share had fallen to 43%, down from the more than 50% it held in years past. The second and third ranked operators, Bakcell (33%) and relative newcomer Azerfon (24%) were both throwing out a challenge to Azercell's number one ranking.
Although the fixed network provides good national coverage, there was little sign of a growth surge in this market;
but the country could still claim a positive fixed-line penetration of more than 18% by the start of 2013 and growth was continuing along a reasonable path. Around 80% of the fixed lines are in urban areas, despite 50% of the population living in rural areas. Government-owned Aztelekom has long been the country's main provider of basic telephone services, being directly controlled by the ministry.
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In the meantime, the number of internet users in the country, having increased by 100% between 2008 and 2010, had passed 5 million in 2012. Fixed broadband subscriptions had increased from 100,000 in 2009 to 1.3 million in 2012 and strong growth was continuing. In the meantime, mobile broadband had rocketed from just 19,000 in 2009 to 3.1 million by end-2012.
In early 2013 Azerbaijan put its first telecommunications satellite into orbit. The Azerspace-1 satellite was set to provide communications coverage for Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa over a designed mission life of 15 years. It was designed to provide digital broadcasting, internet access and data transmission, among other services. The government subsequently announced that Azerspace-2, the country's second telecommunications satellite, would be launched in 2018.
On the back of a strong economy, Azerbaijan has made good progress in the building of its telecommunications and information technology sectors. It has had to overcome a number of major problems in the process, including:
- poor telecom infrastructure inherited from the past;
- low public awareness and understanding of computer technology;
- the high cost of computer equipment in comparison to the average salary;
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