DUSHANBE, March 3, Asia-Plus  -- “The Association is dedicated to protect interests of [cellular] operators and we are glad that the Communications Ministry has agreed to dialogue and that representatives from the government have also attended the meeting,” Ghafur Irkayev, head of the Association of Cellular Operators of Tajikistan, remarked, commenting on a meeting of the Communications Minister Said Zuvaydov with representatives from cellular operators and Internet service providers (ISPs) on the possibility of the establishment the Unified Communications Unit under the Communications Ministry.   

According to him, they had a constructive dialogue and “the cellular operators and ISPs have made a common opinion that the unit should not belong to the Communications Regulatory Agency or any other economic entity because it could break conditions of conscientious competition.”  

During the meeting heads of some companies have introduced a motion to established the second communications unit on the commercial basis, according to him.  “They offered announcement of tender for companies to house the alternative communications unit,” Irkayev said, noting the companies at their own wish could participate both in the main project and in the alternative one.  

“Under draft law submitted for consideration to the government, the establishment of the unified communications unit would require all telecommunications companies and ISPs to route their traffic through the center,” said the Asia-Plus interlocutor, “But we propose that connection to this unit should be on the voluntary basis.  For its part, the Communications Ministry has suggested that each of companies and the Association as a whole should submit their proposals on the last meeting.  We are currently preparing our proposals and at the end of this week we will submit them for consideration to the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA).”  “The main point in our proposals will be voluntary connection to the Unified Communications Unit.  It is to be noted that mainly, the problem has risen because of this.”

Besides, Mr. Ghafur Irkayev has pointed to the necessity of carrying out independent examination of this project, which should include legal, economic and technical grounds as well as reflect expediency of the establishment of this unit.  

“It was my proposal and the cellular operators and ISPs seconded it.  Uzbekistan has tried to establish such unit but the project proved to be inexpedient,” said the Asia-Plus interlocutor, “We have to take into consideration that all cellular operators and ISPs in our country are private and many of them were established with use of foreign capitals, and I think that it is necessary to carry out the independent examination in order that investors and private capital would keep interest in investing in this sector.” 

“If the Communications Ministry supports the cellular operators and ISPs that participation in the unit should be on voluntary basis, there will be no need in the examination,” said Irkayev, “We hope that the dialogue that has already started will continue and we will find a common language with the Communications Ministry.”