Seven months ago, Tajikistan did not comply with the World Bank’s recommendation to exclude Tajiktelecom from the Communications Service. Currently, Tojiktelecom is the only Internet provider in the country. According to experts, this situation led to a loss of competition and hindered the development of the telecommunications market.
The Tajik communications service said on December 7 that they are working with the World Bank on various projects, but did not provide details. No one was present to comment on whether the World Bank’s recommendations on Tajiktelecom were taken into account.
Jan Peters Olters, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan, said at a meeting on April 22 that state-owned Tajiktelecom currently dominates the telecommunications market in Tajikistan and recommended that the regulator separate it from the state-owned Internet provider. Done. “At the time, he stressed that by removing obstacles to the development of the sector, Tajikistan could attract more private investment in this sector.
“It doesn’t get better, it gets worse.”
Experts consider the implementation of such recommendations to be an improvement in the situation. Technology expert Rustam Gulov said on December 6 that he sees no progress in telecommunications, following the recommendations of the World Bank. On the contrary, according to him, the situation with Internet access has worsened.
“Unfortunately, Tajikistan is one of the countries with the lowest quality and most expensive internet. In terms of quality, speed and price, we enrich the competition in the global market. The telecommunications sector is a sector through which we can enter the world market, ”Gulov added.
The Internet market has been under the control of the state-owned company Tojiktelecom since 2018. Previously, Tajik Internet providers had the right to independently receive Internet from abroad. By a controversial decision of the Communications Service, they were forced to buy the Internet only from the state-owned Tojiktelecom. The changes, according to experts, stopped the growth of the industry and led to a decrease in the profits of telecommunications companies.
Appeals and recommendations to the Tajik authorities to create conditions and competition between companies have been made several times in the past, but do not seem to have been taken seriously. According to Rustam Gulov, the reason for this attitude and the fact that Tajiktelecom is not excluded from the jurisdiction of the Communications Service is in the interests of those who do not want to lose it.
The companies did not communicate
Representatives of other ISPs, allegedly hit hard by market monopolies, are reluctant to talk openly about their media problems.
On December 6, we contacted several company representatives, but they did not want to talk. Some economists believe that the current situation in the telecommunications market is not only to the detriment of service companies, but also to the detriment of the population and the budget of the country.
“If this monopoly continues, the country’s budget will suffer greatly,” he said. In the absence of a monopoly, taxpayers increase; the number of taxpaying companies will increase; small and medium-sized businesses develop through online services. The competition that took place is both cheaper and better. This is for the good of everyone, ”said economist Foziljon Fatkhulloev.
What do residents say?
One of our surveys on the streets of Dushanbe showed that many people complain about the high cost of Internet and mobile services in the country. They say they spend a lot of money on Internet access, but the quality and speed of their calls are unsatisfactory. But few of the mobile and internet services in Tajikistan agree.
One of our interlocutors said: “There are times when the Internet is very slow and we cannot find the information we need.”
Another interlocutor added: “Although it is expensive, Internet speed is not good in all regions.”
“I have a Super 10 internet package, which is fast enough so it works well,” said one passer-by in Dushanbe.
Criticism of the internet’s slow speed and high cost has become more heard during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased the demand for its use. Public relations officials do not see this criticism as fair and consistently praise improvements in the sector.
Deputy head of the service, Adolat Abdurakhmonzoda, said at a press conference in February that “the number of Internet users is 3.34 million, which is more than last year.”
Tajikistan has one of the lowest mobile Internet speeds among 124 countries. One research institute said last June that Internet speeds in Tajikistan are among the lowest in the world. He explained government interference with private mobile companies and the transfer of control of the Internet to a state company.
Information taken from the site https://www.ozodi.org/a/31599625.html.