Kazakh operators sign joint rural coverage pledge

Kazakh operators sign joint rural coverage pledge

Kazakhstan’s three major mobile providers have finalised their joint network usage plans as they look to expand rural coverage.

Beeline (KaR-Tel), Kcell and Mobile Telecom Service (Tele2-Altel) will extend their mobile broadband offerings to over 600,000 rural customers, encompassing around 1000 settlements, each with over 250 residents.

TeleGeography reports that the initiative is part of the government’s ‘250+’ plan, and will involve the deployment of new radio access infrastructure that will then be connected through a fibre optic network run by Kazakhtelecom, the parent firm of both Kcell and Mobile Telecom Service.

Kuanyshbek Esekeyev, the chairman of Kazakhtelecom’s board, said: “The agreement…demonstrates the market’s readiness for an integrated and partner approach in solving the problem of providing the population of our republic with mobile communications and the internet. Taking into account the wide geography of the country, the remoteness of settlements and their small [size], only such a balanced and economically reasonable package of measures will make it possible to implement this project in a short time with high efficiency.”

Mobile Telecom Service’s general director Roman Volodin stated: “Each resident of a village connected under the 250+ programme will be able to use the services of any [operator] in the country, regardless of who exactly builds a base station in this particular village.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Beeline will deploy 35% of the necessary infrastructure for the deployment, while the Kazakhtelecom subsidiaries will account for the remaining 65%. Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin was quoted by local outlet Profit.kz as saying that the government aims to extend coverage to 99% of the country’s rural population by end-2020.