Brought to you as a public service of the Open Spectrum Foundation (Stichting Open Spectrum), Amsterdam - Prague
KAZAKHSTAN - Казахстан
"Regulation of the Telecommunications Sector in Kazakhstan," by Alexander V. Barsukov (McGuireWoods Kazakhstan LLP), 10 August 2005: "Before 13 June 2003, the regulating authority of the telecommunication sector of Kazakhstan was the Committee for Telecommunication and Information Technology Development of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. On that date the Presidential Decree 'On Further Improvement of the System of Public Administration' abolished the Committee and transferred all its functions and authorities to the newly established Agency for Information Technology Development and Telecommunication (the 'Agency')... The State Inter-Departmental Commission for Using Radio Frequency of the Government of Kazakhstan is in charge of formulating recommendations and proposals relating to the distribution and use of radio frequencies in Kazakhstan..." See pages 143-145 for Baruskov's discussion of Licensing: "If a company wants a licence to use a radio frequency range... it must obtain from the Agency a 'Permission for Using of Radio Frequency Range,' which is renewable every six months until the expiration of the
term of the [telecommunication] licence..."
Prof. Ure does not regard the Agency for IT Development as an independent regulator: "...the decision to establish an independent regulator ahead of applying for WTO membership has not yet been implemented. Technical assistance from the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) has been pledged for this purpose... The Medium Term Programme for Telecommunications Development, 2006-2009 identifies preparation for WTO membership a priority, alongside a reform of radio spectrum management and the conversion of frequencies currently used by the military to civilian purposes. These reforms... are important if investment in new wireless technologies is to be encouraged..."---"Report: ICT Sector Development in Five Central Asian Economies: A Policy Framework for Effective Investment Promotion and Facilitation," by John Ure, prepared for the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific's International Conference on Strengthening Regional Cooperation
for Managing Globalization (Moscow, 28-30 September 2005), page 31.
"Until 1995, the telecommunications sector was wholly state-owned. It was controlled and operated by the Kazakh Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC). A number of private companies were allowed to enter the market since the 1995 Law on licences has been adopted. This law was representing a set of general rules applied to state licensing but did not take into account a number of sector specific elements (like radio spectrum distribution)...
"In 1996, the government completed the Law on Licences by a decree on licensing of postal and telecommunications operators and the use of radio spectrum (hereafter 'decree on licensing').
[FOOTNOTE: The government's decree on licensing of postal and telecommunications operators and the use of radio spectrum No. 1443, 25.11.1996, Ekonomika i Predprinimatelstvo, 1997, No2. Amended by the government decrees: No. 1081 (17.08.2001), No. 1665 (3.11.2000), No. 1937 (20.12.1999), No. 1787 (25.11.1999).]
This... specified the types of telecommunications activities that were (or were not) subject to licensing, the rules applied to the radio frequencies spectrum distribution and use, the terms of licence, [etc.]....
"The Committee on Communications and Information (CCI) was established in 2000, as a Ministry of Transport and Communications department, by a government's decree No. 1665... CCI... grants telecommunications licences, permissions for the use of radio frequencies and exercises the control over the licensees' activities linked to the telecommunications and the use of radio spectrum...
"The government foresees the establishment of an independent regulator by 2006. [See below - the Agency for Informatisation and Communication has superceded the CCI.]
"Generally speaking, a licence has to be obtained only for the provision of public telecommunications services... The provision of non public telecommunications services (such as... corporate networks that are not connected to the public telecommunications network) is exempted from this obligation...
"The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Radio Frequencies (IMCRF) was created in 1996, by the Kazakh government's decree No. 1418.
[FOOTNOTE: The government's decree on the inter-ministerial Committee on Radio Frequencies No. 1418, 21.11.1996, as amended by the government's decrees No. 1322 (23.12.98) and No. 947 (26.06.00).]
It is chaired by the Minister of Transport and Communications. The IMCRF's main functions are to establish a national policy related to the distribution, the management and the use of the Kazakhstan's radio spectrum resources as well as the ensuring of the terminal equipment's electromagnetic compatibility. The IMCRF represents Kazakhstan in the International Organisations dealing with the radio spectrum issues. It lays down the basic technical standards for the telecommunications equipment used in Kazakhstan...
"According to the communications law and the decree on licensing, when the telecommunications operator's activities imply the use of the radio frequencies a special permission for the use of radio frequencies (hereafter radio frequencies permission) shall be granted by CCI after consultations with the Inter-ministerial Committee on radio frequencies (IMCRF). This radio frequencies permission is a supplement to the telecommunications licence. It means that an operator must first receive a telecommunications licence before applying for the radio frequencies licence. When only one frequency is needed, the CCI can grant, at the same time, radio frequencies permission and the telecommunications licence...
"The licences for the use of radio frequencies are granted only on the basis of a selection procedure or an auction... The delivery of the radio frequencies permission requires a prior payment of a fee after the selection procedure or auction takes place.... The radio frequencies permission is delivered for a six month period. This period can be regularly prolonged until the term of expiry of a corresponding telecommunications licence.
"The government plans to prepare a new conception for the distribution and the use of radio frequencies..."
The Agency for Informatisation and Communication answered "no" to an online question asked by a member of the public in August 2005 about whether a license was needed for a WiFi network for self-use. But their answer to a May 2006 question about company use of Wi-Fi said to consult the 11 March 2003 "rules for the processing of application-related documents in the field of communication and registration of radio electronic facilities and high-frequency devices."
"Before giving a license for commercial use of a radio frequency, the Agency for Informatization and Communications must reconcile its usage with the Kazakh military and other enforcement agencies. Currently, only 5-15% of radio frequencies are used commercially. Recently, the Ministry of Defense started to free up the 450 MHz range. To free up other ranges, Kazakhstani military agencies will have to convert most of its out-of-date equipment. In 2004, the Agency for Informatization and Communications began to discuss the issue of availability of radio frequencies with the Ministry of Defense. This conversion will be financed by the government as well as by some interested telecom operators, but it can be done only after introduction of certain changes in the appropriate Kazakh legislation. As a first step, [the] August 2004 Joint Order of the Agency for Informatization and Communications and the Ministry of Defense regulating the rules for distribution of radio frequencies between Kazakhstani agencies, and procedures for allocation of radio frequencies for commercial usage came into effect...
"The RK [Republic of Kazakhstan] Licensing Law and the Government Order #998 as of September 2004 regulate the licensing procedures as well as types of services in the telecommunications subject to licensing. The RK Agency for Informatization and Communications is the licensing body...
"Licensing remains problematic in Kazakhstan. The law establishes 1-month period for issuance of a license after submission of documents. In practice, it may take up to 6 months. As far as many frequencies belong to the military authorities, it involves obtaining appropriate compliance and permissions from various agencies, which include the National Security Committee and Ministry of Defense and takes a lot of time and efforts..."
"Kazakhstan plans to convert its radio frequency spectrum to civilian use, Askar Zhumagaliyev, a deputy chairman of the State Communications and IT Agency, told reporters. A study will first be conducted of the use of frequency bands by military and security agencies, as there are some unused ones, he said. 'But if a frequency band is being used by the radio electronic media of security agencies and there is a need to allocate these frequencies for civilian users, there are plans to convert them,' Zhumagaliyev said.
"According to the national table of radio frequencies approved by the government in September 2000, about 89% of the frequency spectrum is allocated for combined use by military and civilian media, he said. 'We would like to resolve this problem so that the bands of joint use are redistributed for civilian use,' he said, adding that negotiations with security agencies on making available a number of bands they do not use have been constructive. The Defense Ministry has already fully vacated the 450 MHz band, and the Interior Ministry plans to complete this process in the first half of 2004. The conversion program will be submitted to the government in September, Zhumagaliyev said.
"In addition, the 'competent government agencies will work on the issue of simplifying permit procedures in the system of allocating radio frequencies.' At present, getting approval from the Defense Ministry for civilian use of frequencies 'significantly drags out the issue of permits,' he said...
"Sergei Solodilov, head of new technologies at the Defense Ministry, said his ministry was in favor of the conversion, because 'we have an interest in getting modern communications and management equipment.' However, completely replacing obsolete military radio electronic equipment would cost $800 million-$900 million, Solodilov said. 'But this is not the worst of it. This issue must be coordinated with the military-industrial complex of Russia,' he said. Any technical changes to communications equipment on Kazakh military aircraft must be coordinated with various Russian design bureaus, he said. As for funding the conversion, Solodilov cited the experience of Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Russia, 'where these costs were paid for by telecommunications operators themselves.' He also said that the Defense Ministry could 'completely vacate' the GSM-900 bandwidth for civilian needs within ten years."
Today in Asana, during parliamentary hearings on legislation to implement Kazakhstan's law on communications, Dulat Orazalinov, deputy chairman of the Agency for Informatization and Communication (AIC), said that the duration and opacity of the government's agreement with the defense ministry on civilian use of the radio spectrum is a problem, since powerful ministries are the main user of spectrum and until now there is no program for converting spectrum to civilian use. "Because of this the development of the market for local service in the cities is impeded in the 2.4 MHz and 5.2 - 5.9 MHz ranges, from which civilian use is excluded practically in the entire territory and in the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]."
Meanwhile, AIC and the ministry had more than 10 exchanges during the past half year about the need for agreement on the transfer of frequencies to civilian use in isolated cities, Mr. Orazalinov reported. However, there was agreement only on the transfer of one band "after which the commission of the prime minister on 3 March  converted the additional two bands..."
According to the AIC's website, Order of the Chairman 178-P (23 August 2004) added fixed and mobile communications equipment in the 390-470 Mhz band to the list of devices for which AIC permission is not needed to import or use. That includes low-power devices in the 433 MHz range, and PMR 446 "walkie-talkies."
"JSC Kazakhtelecom has started to implement broadband wireless Internet access project based on WiFi and Wi-Max technologies. Construction of WiFi and Wi-Max network is slated in all oblast centers of the republic in order to implement JSC Kazakhtelecom's technical development plan for 2007-2009..." ---Kazakhtelecom presentation at KITEL 2007, the 14th Kazakhstan and Central Asian Telecommunications, Computers and Information Technologies Exhibition (29 May - 1 June 2007).
"The building of Wi-Fi network in the terminal of JSC International Airport," Kazakhtelecom press release, December 2007: "...In present time JSC Kazakhtelecom begins to provide the service of broadcast wireless access to Internet 'Megaline' Wi-Fi by creation of hot-spots in public places of Almaty city: airports, hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, shopping and leisure centers and places of outdoor activity. In 2007...JSC Kazakhtelecom had organized more [than] 50 hot-spots..."