Today the ICT sector in Azerbaijan is the fastest growing sector of the national economy. This is testified by the data provided by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies which indicate that the ICT has increased by five times over the recent period and the average annual growth rate made up 30-35 percent. Despite the global financial-economic crisis, in 2009 the development dynamics were preserved and made up 13.7 percent. The growth totaled 32.1 percent in 2010. The share of the private sector increased from 70.7 percent to 80.3 percent due to the creation of the favorable competition environment.
A total of $1.5 billion has been invested in the ICT sector of Azerbaijan over the past six years, of which 21 percent accounted for the foreign investments. Positive results have been achieved over the development of the ICT infrastructure in Azerbaijan. The Republic is the first country on the CIS territory which achieved the full telephonization in 2008, and in 2010 all telephone infrastructure was made electronic.
Today, the mobile communication penetration in the country has reached 100 percent. 3G standard was introduced in the mobile phone network in 2009. The financial services development project in the field of postal communication was successfully implemented with the financial support from the World Bank and today the postal offices provides financial services to the population. The level of Internet penetration in the country today has reached 50 percent, of which 15 percent are users of broadband Internet.
In January-May 2011, significant growth was also recorded in the ICT sphere. Thus, the amount of information and communication services rendered to organizations and population in Azerbaijan in January-May 2011 totaled 472.6 million manat, or 17.7 percent more than the same period of last year. About 63.1 percent fell on share of mobile communications which increased by 7.6 percent as compared to the last year's indicators and totaled 298.4 million manat.
The number of mobile communication subscribers is constantly increases due to the tense activities of the mobile operators in the country that constantly raise the quality of their services. Thus, the number of active subscribers of Bakcell mobile communication company in Azerbaijan reached 2.5 million. The company's network operates 2,000 base stations, allowing to cover 98.7 percent of the Republic's territory, including remote regions. The network of Bakcell covers more than 95 percent of the population and 82 percent of the country's territory. In general, due to investments, the capacity of the network infrastructure of Bakcell was increased four times.
Azercell Company has been operating in the mobile services market since 1995, today the number of company's subscribers has reached 4.2 million people, of whom 300,000 joined the network of operator last year. At present Azercell's network covers 80 percent of the territory and 99.8 percent of the population of Azerbaijan.
The coverage area of the youngest mobile communication company in Azerbaijan, Azerfon, is 80 percent and the number of subscribers - 1.7 million.
Azerbaijani Statistics State Committee also notes an increase in the rate of production of ICT equipment in the country. Thus, in January-May 2011, computer, electronic and optical equipment was produced in the country in amount of 57.4 million manat.