Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Communication and Information has announced that it intends to achieve 100% broadband population coverage by 2013, as part of its ongoing ‘Program on Information and Communication Technologies Development in Kazakhstan for 2010-2014’. Askar Zhumagaliyev, Minister of Communication and Information, commented: ‘All towns and cities of the country will be provided with broadband internet access by means of 3G, WiMAX and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH). Due to the implementation of the programme we plan to achieve 100% coverage of the country’s territory with broadband internet access by 2013. [We will also see an] improvement of service quality and an increase in speed’.
However, Prime Minister Karim Massimov quashed rumours that the country was poised to implement a countrywide standard of 100Mbps, admitting: ‘The provision of 100Mbps transmission speeds is an ambitious task’. To this end the prime minister urged Zhumagaliyev to increase average broadband speeds across Kazakhstan to 16Mbps by 2015, bringing the country in line with the likes of South Korea. Massimov added: ‘The broadband internet speed issue is an issue of our competitiveness. It is no less important than other social issues’. President Nursultan Nazarbayev confirmed: ‘The advanced telecommunications infrastructure should become a competitive advantage in the process of investors’ attraction. We should accelerate the process of 4G introduction and make the prices for telecommunications services and the internet speed competitive and affordable’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, two cellcos have trialled Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Kazakhstan thus far. On 1 December 2009 KaR-Tel launched a pilot LTE network in the capital city of Astana; the network operated within the 700MHz spectrum band for a period of around two months. In July 2010 rival operator K’cell unveiled its first 4G base station in Astana, and demonstrated a ‘real-time’ link. Despite the successful tests, no formal 4G licences have yet been issued.