Minister: Cost of state communication operator Aztelekom may hit at least $1 billion
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.15 / Trend /
The cost of the Azerbaijani state fixed communication operator - Aztelekom is estimated at no less than one billion dollars, the Azerbaijani Communications and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov said in an interview with the Russian newspaper RBC daily.
"It is difficult to say exactly, but I think that it [Aztelekom's cost] is not less than one billion dollars," Abbasov said.
The minister said that at present it only remains to privatize only fixed communication operators in the sphere of communication in Azerbaijan. These are Aztelekom and BTRIB (Baku Telephone Communications) companies.
"An open joint-stock company will be created in 2011, while in 2012 we will put the shares of the OJSC on the market," the minister said.
Abbasov that the ministry's consultants still are under the process of creation of the privatization concept, and a plan of actions has not yet been finally approved. But an investor must be serious and responsible - in the long run it should equally develop networks and communication services throughout the country, without limiting to any regions, especially rural areas.
"Already there are many interested companies," Abbasov said.
The minister said that roughly 500 new IT-companies have joined the market as a result of simplifying the licensing system in Azerbaijan over the past five years.
"In the short term, we want to privatize all enterprises, which are under authority of the ministry, so that the ministry could play a "pure" regulator, but not to be a business entity," the minister said.