05 Apr 2022, 20:05
Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov chaired a meeting of the Commission on the Demonopolization of the Economy under the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the capital.
The Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bagdat Mussin made a presentation. The head of the department noted a number of organizational and legislative measures for the demonopolization of the telecommunications industry.
The issue of the occupied share of fixed and mobile communications in the country was considered. In particular, it was noted that Kazakhtelecom JSC is a monopolist in the telecommunications services market with a share of over 80% in the fixed-line communications market and over 60% in the mobile communications market.
A significant position in the telecommunications market allowed the group of companies of JSC Kazakhtelecom to take a significant share in other related markets. Kazakhtelecom JSC owns 100% of the market share of digital marking of goods, 78% of the market share of fiscal data operators, 55% of the market share of Data Processing Centers, 33% of the market share of pay TV services, 75% of all radio frequencies.
It should be noted that during the consolidation of Kcell and Tele2, the goal was to achieve a positive effect by optimizing and integrating their networks, which was supposed to improve the quality of telecommunications services provided. However, for 3 years, the integration of mobile operators' networks has not been implemented.
As a solution, Mussin proposed to demonopolize the groups of companies of Kazakhtelecom JSC by bringing one of the group's mobile operators to the competitive market. Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov instructed the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, together with the Samruk-Kazyna SWF, to submit a proposal on this issue within a week. Also today, small operators have difficulties in gaining access to cable ducts and laying their communication lines, since the main part of the cable duct is on the balance sheet and is operated by Kazakhtelecom JSC. Thus, Kazakhtelecom JSC can limit the development of medium and small providers that are ready to provide Internet access services to the population as a "last mile".
To solve the problem, the ministry proposes to legislatively provide for a number of amendments, including the filing of an electronic application and the definition of a clear list of grounds for refusing to provide a service. In addition, in case of complaints in an unjustified refusal, authorize RSE GRS to conduct a technical audit, based on the results of which the authorized body will have the right to issue instructions in case of violations.
At the same time, it is proposed to strengthen the administrative responsibility of the operator for an unjustified refusal to provide a cable duct service. Also, some large telecom operators do not stimulate the development of medium and small Internet providers, providing them with unfavorable conditions for cooperation. There are facts when, due to unfavorable terms of the dealer agreement, Kazakhtelecom JSC prevents the development of medium and small Internet providers, which negatively affects the development of the telecommunications market and providing the population with access to telecommunications services. This, in turn, hinders the successful implementation of the President's instructions to develop the telecommunications market and provide the population with access to the Internet.
Legislative regulation of prices for access to the networks of Kazakhtelecom JSC and Transtelecom JSC in villages for small telecom operators and the creation of conditions for small operators to lay networks on electric poles will solve this problem. Regarding the provision of the radio frequency spectrum, which is legally defined as a national resource and is exhaustive, it was proposed to hold an auction mechanism, which would ensure the transparency of frequency allocation, as well as the withdrawal of inefficiently used radio frequencies.
For example, in Nur-Sultan today there are no free frequencies, and most of the issued radio frequencies are owned by the Kazakhtelecom JSC group, which, in turn, makes it impossible for new players to enter the market.
As part of proposals to improve the mechanism for monitoring the quality of communications, monitoring will be strengthened and the amount of fines for the provision of low-quality services will increase from 100 to 1,000 MCI.
Among other things, at the meeting of the Commission, the Prosecutor General's Office and the Financial Monitoring Agency were asked to study the issue of possible damage to the state as a result of the deal to sell 24% of Kcell JSC.
The issue of carrying out activities for the collection, processing and transfer of information about the fiscal data of clients to the tax authority was also considered. To become a fiscal data operator, you must have a license for an operator of international and long-distance communications. Such licenses, for example, are held by Kazakhtelecom and Transtelecom. Thus, small operators have to pay for the license to the above-mentioned companies, which does not allow the market to develop in a competitive environment.
At the meeting of the Commission, it was proposed to make these licensing conditions optional, which would allow creating a competitive market for operator services.
It was also proposed to analyze the reasonableness of the tariffs of Transtelecom JSC regarding the engineering infrastructure for Data Processing Centers, as well as to continue work on the exclusion of the exclusive right of Transtelecom JSC determined under the intergovernmental agreement between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to lay a fiber-optic communication line along the bottom of the Caspian sea in connection with the delay in the implementation of the agreements reached.
Smailov instructed the ministry to negotiate with the Azerbaijani side to replace the Kazakh operator within the framework of the above joint project.
In addition, at the meeting of the Commission, it was proposed to analyze the sale of shares of Transtelecom JSC to private individuals, as well as possible damage to the state in the event of alienation.