The growth of the mobile subscriber base has dwindled in the Azerbaijan market over the past five years. The first “Pre-5G” network operating on the TD-LTE standard is expected to be developed soon. On the other hand, fixed-line broadband market penetration has grown slightly. Mobile broadband subscribers have nevertheless grown quickly thanks to the rollout of 4G infrastructure and a growing range of mobile broadband packages available. The mobile broadband market is expected to enjoy increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as 4G and 5G networks are rolled out around the country. The National TV and Radio Council (NTRC) regulates broadcasting in the Republic of Azerbaijan by managing the radio frequency spectrum, granting licenses and resources to operators, protecting consumers from inappropriate and inefficient broadcasts, and encouraging technological innovations.
Azerbaijan’s high economic growth in the past was attributed to rising oil exports and to some non-export sectors. However, declining oil prices caused a 3.1% contraction in GDP in 2016, and a 0.8% decline in 2017, highlighted by a sharp reduction in the construction sector. The economic decline was accompanied by higher inflation, a weakened banking sector, and two sharp currency devaluations in 2015.
Azerbaijan has made limited progress with market-based economic reforms. Pervasive public and private sector corruption and structural economic inefficiencies remain a drag on long-term growth, particularly in non-energy sectors. The government has, however, made efforts to combat corruption, particularly in customs and government services. Several other obstacles impede Azerbaijan’s economic progress, including the need for more foreign investment in the non-energy sector and the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Long-term prospects depend on world oil prices, Azerbaijan’s ability to develop export routes for its growing gas production, and its ability to improve the business environment and diversify the economy.