New telecoms law under fire for relaxed attitude to monopoly operators

16 May 2005

The draft of Azerbaijan’s new telecoms law has been criticised by an influential industry director, who says it does not comply with European standards by omitting provisions for the elimination of the wireline monopoly of PTO AzTelecom and the wireless duopoly of Bakcell and Azercell. Osman Gunduz, the head of Azerbaijan’s Multimedia Centre, told a working group of the parliamentary commissions on economic and legal policies that the draft bill’s definition of a monopoly operator – any telco with control of 35% or more of the market – does not match that of markets across the continent, where 25% is the standard figure. Additionally, the chairman of the country’s internet society, Galib Gurbanov, expressed his concern that regulation of the internet garnered just one paragraph in the new legislation. A spokesperson for Azercell countered by saying that the bill meets all international standards and claimed anti-monopoly policy was covered by separate legislation that has already been adopted. The working group has recommended that the draft law be revised.

Azerbaijan, Azercell, AzTelekom, Bakcell