The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies (MCIT) of Azerbaijan says it is in the final phase of completing the necessary documentation and procedures concerning the award of 3G licences to domestic cellcos Azercell and Bakcell. Local press quote the minister of communications & IT Ali Abbasov as saying: ‘I think that until the end of 2011 Azercell and Bakcell will be licensed to provide services in the format of 3G’. The minister has also instructed the MCIT to issue guidelines to the operators concerning the technical preparations they will need to meet for the UMTS licences it intends to award.
In July, Abbasov said that the process of awarding 3G licences to Azercell and Bakcell was close to completion, adding at the time that the pair needed only to address some minor technical issues, after which their licence application documents would comply with all requirements. The official 3G licence fee is AZN11,000 (USD13,900). According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Azerfon is currently the only cellco in the country to hold a licence to provide third-generation services. Shortly after receiving its concession in December 2009, Azerfon launched its 3G network in Baku, Sumgait, Ganja, Shirvan, Nakhchivan, Mingachevir, Tovuz and Shamkir, as well as in the Absheron Peninsula. Azercell and Bakcell meanwhile did not receive licences as they had not submitted the relevant documents required by law detailing network rollout progress and planned coverage. Earlier this year the MCIT began reviewing an appeal by the pair over the award of UMTS concessions.