Mobile penetration soars in Kazakhstan

Although growth slowed significantly in 2009, Kazakhstan has been experiencing a booming telecom market that included almost 100% mobile penetration by early 2010, according to Research & Markets. This has come about on the back of a growing economy and a program of positive regulatory reform in the telecom sector. Legislation adopted in 2004 laid the foundation for the liberalisation and development of the telecom sector and put an end to the monopoly enjoyed by Kazakhtelecom, the state-controlled telecom operator.

The rapid and successful development of telecommunications in the country encouraged several foreign suppliers to establish a presence in this emerging market. Since 1992, international operators and manufacturers have been active in Kazakhstan in providing services and installing state-of-the-art equipment, especially as part of the country’s international telecom network. Companies such as Motorola, Lucent, Siemens, Alcatel, Nokia, Daewoo and Nortel Networks have all been active in the market. Recognising the long-term potential of this market, many foreign telecom companies were looking to invest and form partnerships with local telecom companies.

By 2005 four private operators had been licensed to provide international and long-distance services in competition with the incumbent Kazakhtelecom. They were state-railway subsidiary TransTelecom, KazTransCom (a subsidiary of the national oil company), Ducat and Astel. Up to 1,500 new telecom service providers of various kinds had been licensed by end-2005.

 

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