Azerbaijan is poised to welcome a new mobile operator when Azerfon launches its commercial GSM service in late February 2007. In a press statement the newcomer’s president John Armley said his firm expected to cover 80% of the territory of the Republic with its network, adding that it has been given the prefix code ‘070’ for its services. Armley went on to say that the firm planned to utilise advanced technologies for the new network, including 3G.
Azerfon was granted a GSM-900/1800 licence in December 2005 and has said it will invest USD300 million in the build-out of its network over a two-year period, with the aim of covering 80% of the country’s territory by 2008. At launch its services will be available in Baku, Ganja, Mingechevir, Ali Bayrmali, Sumgait, Nakhchivan, Lenkeran, Absheron peninsula and Guba. The company is owned by Siemens (30%) and AzTelekom (10%), with the remaining 60% split evenly between the British investment groups Estel and Selex.