Azeri communications minister Ali Abbasov has revealed that a tender for UMTS licences will be launched in the first quarter of 2008. GSM operators, Azercell, Azerfon and Bakcell have all previously expressed an interest in offering 3G services, with privately-owned Bakcell already planning the deployment of a network. Abbasov said the frequencies for three operators are being developed.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, at the end of September 2007 there were around 4.2 million wireless subscribers in Azerbaijan, with state-controlled Azercell commanding around 70% of the market. Trend Capital news agency reports that the country’s projected customer base will reach 5.9 million by the end of 2008, climbing to 5.9 million in 2009, 6.2 million in 2010 and 6.8 million in 2011.