Azerbaijan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Azercell, is set to receive a licence to provide third-generation services in the country. According to a report by Azerbaijan Business Center, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies is discussing the allocation of 3G radio spectrum to the cellco. Ulviyya Hasanzadeh, head of Azerbaijan’s Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility Department, has said that the operator will make an official statement regarding the receipt of 3G spectrum in the near future. ‘We have long been technically ready to provide 3G services, and the only obstacle for us was to obtain the required frequencies, the question of allotting of which is currently at final stage of discussion. Upon receiving a licence for 3G services we intend to proceed their rendering in Baku, Absheron and major cities of Azerbaijan, and may cover 80% of the country,’ she commented.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) began reviewing an appeal by Azercell and Bakcell earlier this year over the award of UMTS concessions, after the pair initially failed to submit the relevant documents required by law detailing network rollout progress and planned coverage. Last month the ministry said it was in the final phase of completing the necessary documentation and procedures concerning the award of 3G licences to Azercell and Bakcell. Azerfon is currently the only cellco in the country to hold a concession to provide third-generation services. The company was awarded its licence in December 2009, launching its 3G network in Baku and other main cities the same month.