By Nigar Abbasova
The Strategic Road Map for the development of information and communication technologies in Azerbaijan will introduce certain changes to the ICT sector, which enjoys a strong growth potential and carries the promise to maintain and even strengthen its position as one of the most developed sectors of the national economy.
The measures envisaged in the document are forecasted to provide a GDP growth of some 235 million manats ($ 132.6 million), by creating some 1,450 new working places till 2020.
The Road Map promotes the switch to the electronic document circulation, which is advantageous in terms of speed of access, recovery of documents, the saving of storage space and other peculiarities.
In mid-term perspective (till 2025), a large part of document circulation (particularly in state agencies) will be implemented in the electronic form, while the switch to the e-system is expected to create an advantageous environment for the development of the business climate in the country.
In the long-term perspective (post-2025 period) the country is expected to fully switch to the electronic document circulation. The banking sector of the country, which currently uses e-document circulation, is expected to adopt the practice of digital banking interacting with payment systems, mobile e-purse, e-commerce platforms and social networks.
Also, the development of the infrastructure for contactless payments will also be in focus.
Furthermore, all processes in the sphere of public heath are also expected to switch to a new digital format, while the use of the format will lead to the popularization of cloud services (provided via the internet).
Machine to machine (M2M) communication (technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance) is planned to become one of the main elements of life activity.
Also, all meters used in communal services will be replaced with digital ones, while the measure is expected to facilitate the control over the consumption, payment processes and accelerate analysis of the received information. All innovations are expected to be included in the “Smart city” concept.
Besides, some 125 million manats ($ 70.57) will be used for the modernization of broadband networks till 2020, while the coverage is expected to reach the level of some 70 percent, with further increase up to 95 percent.
The number of operators connected to the international gateways will reach at least three, as compared to the current two operators (Delta Telecom ? Azertelecom). Furthermore, the level of consumed internet traffic for one used will be increased from the current level of 3.6 Mbit/s up to 20 Mbit/s till 2020. By 2020, the figure is expected to be increased up to 50 Mbit/s.
In the long-term perspective operators of mobile services in Azerbaijan, Bakcell, Azercell and Azerfon are expected to get low frequencies of 700 and 800 MHz to expand the coverage of broadband services. The coverage is expected to reach the level of 70 percent by 2020, some 85 percent by 2025 and 100 percent in post 2025 period.
Revenues from mobile communication services in Azerbaijan totaled some 680.5 million manat ($ 384.20 million) in January-October 2016, which is by 7 percent less than in the same period of 2015 (731.1 million manat), while some 80.5 percent of income received through the communication sector fell to a share of non-state enterprises.