Majilis deputy Seitsultan Aimbetov asks to attract new cellular operators to Kazakhstan, Tengrinews.kz reports.
“A really competitive environment has to be created and new cellular operators have to be involved to reduce the cost of mobile communications. There are currently around 60 of them in the world. For example, when Tele2 appeared in Kazakhstan in 2010, it caused a sharp decrease of prices of the existing operators,” Aimbetov said at the government meeting with participation of the Minister of Transport and Communications. The deputy believes that the time has come to cancel additional rates for calls between different operators.
“The coverage with cellular communications is over 100 percent. Of course, it is a huge achievement. However, the cost and the quality of cellular communications are not good at all. For example, the average cost of one minute in CIS markets (post soviet space) made 18 tenge ($0.12) in 2010. One minute cost 3 tenge ($0.02) in Kyrgyzstan, 4.5 tenge ($0.03) in Uzbekistan, 7,5 tenge ($0.05) in Georgia and 9.5 tenge ($0.06) in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan had a tendency to increasing the prices and their average growth made 7.6 percent between 2008 and 2010. Besides, a double rate for calls to other networks is a big load for people. For example, if we paid an average of 13 tenge ($0.09) per minute for on-net calls in 2011, the calls to other operators cost us 28 tenge ($0.19). Of course, this is a very big difference,” the Majilisman said.
According to Aimbetov, he does not know anyone who carries four or more sim-cards or more than two phones in their pockets to be able to call using all the existing operators in Kazakhstan. The deputy thinks that the majority of the country’s people cannot afford it.
“The statistics shows that the incomes of Kazakhstan cellular operators keep growing from year to year. In 2010 their profits made 261 billion tenge ($1.8 billion), which is a 8.5-percent growth compared to 2009. We suppose that the time has come to cancel extra-costs on calls to other operators, as these operators have recovered their capital investments into network development long time ago,” he said.
By Renat Tashkinbayev