MINSK, 19 March (BelTA) – The current state of affairs and the prospects of developing the telecom market in Belarus have been discussed at the government session hosted by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, BelTA informs.
According to the president, this field is one of the most promising sectors of the Belarusian economy. “This is the most progressive industry. Since 2011, its share in the gross domestic product has almost doubled, there are about 100,000 jobs in the industry. It is important that this is a high-tech branch of the economy which does not need cheap oil, gas or other material resources. It means that the achievements in this segment strengthen our economic independence,” the Belarusian leader said.
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that Belarus is in the group of countries with an advanced ICT sector and good corresponding infrastructure. “Belarus is the leader in the CIS, it is on a par with such European countries as Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic,” he said.
At the same time, the president stressed that the dynamics of processes, the speed of technological evolution in this field are incredible. Equipment gets old 3-4 times quicker than its actual wear and tear. “Every two years the load on infrastructure at least doubles. The demand for certain services is already higher than the supply. But the main thing is that communications cease to exist as a separate branch, they are now integrated in all walks of life, in traditional industries like telecom and mass media and other industries like medicine, education, manufacturing, etc.,” the head of state said.
“Yesterday the Internet of things was an abstract thing, today the exchange of data in an autonomous regime without human involvement between various systems in the housing and utility sector, manufacturing, transport, logistics has become the absolute reality. Moreover, telecommunications are now inseparable from the digital transformation of the economy. Therefore, we need to keep an eye on the development of these sectors in correlation,” Alexander Lukashenko added.
In this context, the president asked the participants of the meetings about the measures that are needed not only to keep Belarus' positions in the global rankings but also to improve them. He also wanted to know if there are any constraints in the development of the ICT sector in Belarus and if additional solutions are needed.
“I need concrete facts without much talking. However, I want to warn you: there are a number of proposals, including on investments in this sector, so I hope that you will not push for a certain option trying to convince me and put forward alternative options instead. Do not try to convince me. I have certain criteria, and I will always agree if it benefits the state and people. But we need different options,” the Belarusian leader concluded.
As of 1 January 2019, 334 licenses were issued to telecom operators. Key players on the market are landline operators Beltelecom and the National Traffic Exchange Center, mobile operators MTS, velcom, BeST, the infrastructure operator Belarusian Cloud Technologies.
Belarus is ranked 32nd in the ICT Development Index (an index published by the International Telecommunication Union) and is one of the countries with good ICT infrastructure. The abovementioned index is based on such indicators as Internet access, broadband connection quality, cable television and mobile coverage, including the availability of high-standard networks, and other things.