The Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communication of Uzbekistan has unveiled plans to spend USD883.7 million over the next four years on nine investment projects intended to improve broadband access by 2020. The programmes will focus on the development of HSPA+ and LTE networks, the expansion of fixed and mobile infrastructure – including the expansion of backbone and transmission networks and the installation of fibre-optic lines – and the introduction of new multimedia services. Through the projects, the ministry hopes to increase the number of fixed broadband ports by 2.2 times, and improve data transfer rates by 20 times. The government is also hoping to introduce 20 new services, as well as further develop IPTV and VoIP services.
In a related development, the nation’s largest cellco by subscribers, Russian-owned Beeline, has launched a free over-the-top (OTT) messaging app, ‘Va4ach,’ for Android users. Beeline’s head of marketing, Khilola Karimbaeva was quoted by UzDaily as saying that Va4ach is within the Tashkent Internet Exchange Point (TAS-IX) zone, guaranteeing the ‘best speed’ for sending and receiving text and multimedia messages.