Roaming service cancellation in EU to impact on Azerbaijan’s mobile communication market

Azerbaijan Materials 28 February 2014 14:01
The European Commission`s initiative on the speedy cancellation of roaming within the Eurozone is not only limited to EU countries

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.27

By Huseyn Valiyev Trend:

The European Commission`s initiative on the speedy cancellation of roaming within the Eurozone is not only limited to EU countries, but will have an impact including on the regional market, President of Azercell Telecom, Chiril Gaburici told Trend on Feb. 27.

Azercell is taking measures in this regard which other players [there are three operators in Azerbaijan] of the mobile market can not do, the president said.

"It refers to beneficial roaming tariffs applied in the operators networks included in the TeliaSonera group. All the steps taken by us are primarily aimed at trying to make the stay of our customers in the visited network more comfortable so they are not restricted whilst roaming abroad," Gaburici said.

The call price per minute formed the basis of the tariff policy on inter-operator connections established by operators in other countries, according to the head of the Strategy and Business development section of Azercell Telekom, Imran Bagirov. A significant fact forming roaming tariffs in individual countries is that big operators have no willingness to negotiate with operators having a small subscriber base upon the standards.

"The first question that interests operators is the number of subscribers and how often they call per month. There are countries where the price per minute costs two manat which certainly annoys subscribers. It can be recalled that half of this amount is paid to a foreign operator. In turn, we have to reduce the cost per minute, say for example to 1.9 manat. There are countries where we have maintained a margin the size of three to five percent which is sent for internal expenditure," Bagirov said.

Considering this, the European Commission made a specific suggestion for the optimal solution of the above problems, according to Bagirov.

According to recent Eurobarometer social research which is held regularly on the basis of interviews with residents of European countries, 25 percent of respondents are not using roaming services to save money, 47 percent of people are not using mobile access to the Internet network because of the high cost and only every tenth person uses e-mail as usual. According to European Commission estimates, as a result of this, the telecommunications market as operators and application developers loses about 300 million users.

The European Commission issued a directive on the reduction of roaming tariffs in the EU by 70 percent in 2006. The European Parliament decided in 2007 that the cost per minute of a roaming call should not exceed 40 cents euro for outgoing calls and 15 on incoming.

Regulation of roaming tariffs within the EU within six years saw the marginal cost of outgoing calls reduced from 0.49 to 0.24 euros per minute, incoming calls from 0.24 to 0.07 euros. The cost of SMS was regulated from 2009. The cost of outgoing messages cannot exceed 0.08 euros and incoming SMS are free of charge. The cost of mobile internet access in roaming is also reduced, being no more than 0.45 euro per Mbyte

The official exchange rate for Feb. 27 is 0, 7845 AZN / USD.

Translated by S.I
Edited by S.M.