Changes are intended to make the licensing rules more accurately reflect the changing nature of mobile communications and there are three major changes:
- To obtain a license for provision of cellular (mobile) services an applicant will have to enter into a license agreement with the relevant government authority. The same rule applies for the extension of a license. Execution of a license agreement is intended to allow the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies to have a more individualized approach to license applicants and to set specific operational and technical requirements for licensees.
- 3G services (which used to be a separate category of services) have been subsumed into the cellular (mobile) communication services category, which has been expanded to cover all generations (and varieties) of mobile services. This amendment is of a technical nature and will allow the state regulator to issue licenses for mobile communication services based on new technologies without the need for further amendments to the rules. The same amendment is made to the separate list of licensable activities in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
- The changes also require the Cabinet of Ministers to determine additional terms for licensing mobile communication services within two months. These additional terms are expected to include the term of the license agreement and more specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a license for mobile communication services.
We see the rationale behind the changes as an attempt to cope with the constant development and changing demands in the IT and communications sectors and bring the Azerbaijani telecommunications regulations into line with best practices. Success will largely depend on the additional licensing rules the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers adopts and how those rules are interpreted and implemented in practice both by the relevant state authorities and mobile communication services providers
The changes were introduced on September 10, 2015 when the Azerbaijani President issued a decree amending the existing presidential decree On Improvement of the Rules for Issuance of Special Permits (Licenses) for Certain Types of Activities, dated September 2, 2002.