Telecommunications networks in Uzbekistan are largely based on Soviet-built infrastructure but with many modern additions, making the country one of the leading influencers in the region in informational development. Mobile services are growing rapidly, while fixed telephony is stagnant and Internet usage has increased dramatically in the last years.
The Internet penetration rate in Uzbekistan was slightly over 52% by mid-2016. Uzbekistan is linked by fibre-optic cable and microwave radio relay with CIS member states and to other countries by leased connection via the Moscow international gateway switch. After the completion of the Uzbek link to the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fibre-optic cable, Uzbekistan plans to establish a fibre-optic connection to Afghanistan.
Fixed-line penetration is stagnant; however, has been the accelerated conversion of the fixed network from analogue to digital with the 100% target having been effectively achieved. The main line telecommunications system is dilapidated and telephone density is low. On the basis of published statistics, recent growth in internet usage has been considerable. There is also an ongoing surge in the growth of broadband internet subscriptions, but from a small subscriber base. The State Committee for Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies is the regulatory agency for telecommunications in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is a landlocked country with more than 60% of the population living in densely populated rural communities. Since its independence in September 1991, the government maintained its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls.
While aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government continues to intervene in the business sector and has not addressed the impediments to foreign investment in the country. Facing a multitude of economic challenges upon acquiring independence, the government adopted an evolutionary reform strategy, with an emphasis on state control, reduction of imports and self-sufficiency in energy. This reformist strategy has involved postponing significant macroeconomic and structural reforms. The state in the hands of the bureaucracy has remained a dominant influence in the economy. The government is yet to eliminate the gap between the black market and official exchange rates by successfully introducing convertibility of the national currency. Its restrictive trade regime and generally interventionist policies continue to have a negative effect on the economy.
Uztelecom Joint Stock Company is the largest telecommunication operator in Uzbekistan. History of Uztelecom is linked with the independence of Uzbekistan, as it was first established in the year of 1992. During its 24 years of work time, Uztelecom has increased rapidly, and became one of the leading communication companies in Central Asia, and the biggest in Uzbekistan. “UzMobile” and “UzOnline” are sub-brands of UzTelecom for mobile connection services and for Internet services respectively.