Mobile network ecosystem

The mobile market of Azerbaijan is rather competitive, with part-state and part-privately owned operators. Telecommunications Market Azerbaijan exercises strict regulations on market access and limited rules on content.

Azerbaijan’s biggest Internet service provider (ISP) is the state-run Delta Telecom, which web users often accuse of holding a monopoly on Internet provision and offering low quality services. Critics say the international gateway provider is slow, costly, and has a track record of censorship. By the end of 2011, around 12 percent of ISPs were connected to newly registered AzerTelecom, which consists of several small enterprises, including DataCELL, Bakcell, Ultel, Azerfon, Baktelekom, and Azerbaijan Telecommunication ISP.

But even that did not help to break Delta Telecom’s monopoly, which continues to hold an 88 percent share of the Internet market and thwarts larger capacity and faster speeds while maintaining high subscription rates. The lack of open competition has an adverse effect on the quality of the Internet market in the country and Delta’s monopoly status gives a green light to the government to block websites it does not like. Temporary Internet blackouts occur periodically, often due to problems with Delta Telecom’s infrastructure. In February 2018, Baktelecom announced its decision to reduce tariffs for its Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) users, a service provided using fiber optic infrastructure that includes speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s. The service is currently only available to 30,000 households.