Azercell, the dominant cellco in Azerbaijan, has revealed that it has installed 61 base stations in rural areas in the first five months of 2006. Population coverage of Azercell’s network stands at over 95%.
In separate but related news, at the end of last month the country’s telecommunications minister Ali Abbasoc announced that the government plans to sell its 35% stake in Azercell before the end of 2006. Fintur Holdings, a joint venture between TeliaSonera and Turkcell, holds approximately 53% of the cellco via Azertel, the fixed line operator, and would appear best placed to acquire the government’s shareholding. However, Russian giants MTS and Vimpelcom are understood to be seeking entry to Azerbaijan’s mobile market, and may launch a bid for the stake when it goes on sale.