Azerbaijani Communications Ministry makes efforts to reduce roaming costs

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 19 / Trend H.Valiyev /

Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies is taking the necessary steps to reduce the cost of roaming services, the ministry told Trend on Monday.

According to the ministry, at present in some cases, Azerbaijani citizens are facing problems whilst using roaming services abroad. The problems include both the costs and the quality of the GSM-service operators which are yet to be improved.

The main task in solving these problems is to achieve a consensus on the interconnection costs while staying connected to the guest network. According to the ministry, the quality of network to deliver voice traffic is also an important issue which should be clearly negotiated during the signing of a contract between operators.

"Today we have opportunities both to improve the quality and to further reduce costs for this type of service. The settlement of the roaming issue is currently being negotiated between the ministry and mobile operators," the ministry said.

Service providers are often put under pressure by the ministry to resolve these issues. Because of this, a phased reduction of tariffs has been reached over the last year. Reduction of roaming costs is being monitored for countries accounting for the bulk of traffic which are mainly Russia, Turkey and Iran.

According to the ministry, tariff reductions can only take place through the cooperation of operators. Today Azerbaijani mobile operators have a roaming agreement with hundreds of foreign operators.

Tariffs of foreign operators and their expenses provided to Azerbaijani operators are being considered in the formation of tariffs. Ultimately the final price is determined for example at 1 or 1.5 manat per minute which does not allow operators to reduce tariffs below a set level.

Azerbaijani mobile operators are not able to reduce roaming tariffs unilaterally. Therefore, it is very important to continue the negotiations in this direction. Mutual agreements have already been reached with operators from Russia, CIS countries, Turkey and the UK, resulting in a 20 to 30 per cent reduction becoming possible in some directions. This process is to be continued.

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