ASTANA – Seventy-five percent of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent and 60 percent of regional centers will be covered by 5G mobile networks by 2027, said Kazakh Minister of Digital Development, Innovation, and Aerospace Industry Bagdat Mussin at an April 25 government meeting, reported the ministry’s press service.
“5G will provide high-speed internet access that will accelerate the development of the digital economy and improve the working conditions of modern technology companies. This, in turn, will help increase the productivity and competitiveness of the country’s economy and bring new investments and technological developments,” said Mussin.
Kazakhstan has 6,406 rural settlements throughout the country, 4,974 of which have access to broadband internet services. They are covered by various technologies, including networks of fiber optic lines, 3G and 4G.
“We also plan to provide more than 170,000 households in cities with high-speed internet access by building a broadband access network,” the minister added.
Mussin focused on internet traffic growth due to the development of the digital economy, entertainment content, and online business. The number of internet users in the country has reached 90.9 percent.
“The number of internet users is growing, including the time they spend on the internet. These factors are the main reason for the increased load on the communication infrastructure. The country annually increases the number of base stations to improve the quality of the internet. So far, there are approximately 41,200 units,” he said.
According to Mussin, the government intends to provide broadband access to the internet for more than 3,000 rural settlements by constructing 60,000 kilometers of optical infrastructure. It also plans to install 487 antenna mast structures, providing 17,000 kilometers of roads with mobile internet.
Mussin expressed concern about existing gray schemes for importing cell phones into the country, including those with duplicate International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) codes.
“A mobile device is not only a means of communication, but also a platform for storing personal data, money and bank cards. Using gadget applications, people can apply for loans and microloans online,” he said.
According to the information of the database of identification codes (BDIC), there are 3.7 million subscriber devices that have duplicate IMEI codes in the country.
The presence of duplicate IMEI codes prevents law enforcement authorities from effectively finding and blocking stolen mobile phones.
To address these issues, the ministry plans to integrate the IMEI code database with customs systems and use biometrics upon subscriber registration.