Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
Belarusian Ministry of Communications and Informatization has changed its position on Beltelecom privatization. Initially it was announced that up to 49% of Beltelecom shares can belong to foreign companies. Deputy minister of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of Belarus Ivan Rak said that only Belarusian companies would participate in the process of Beltelecom privatization. According to Mr. Rak, this position has been accepted by WTO. However, new players entering Belarusian telecommunications market can have 100% foreign companies.
Ivan Rak insists that Belarusian Law on telecommunications meets WTO requirements with the only exception of Beltelecom monopoly stipulated by the Law. Mr. Rak explains that this provision was included in view of the privatization process. Mr Rak stressed, that Beltelecom, being a monopolist, have funding opportunities for state social development programmes.
Mr Rak informed that Ministry of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of Belarus has developed Regulations on the universal service reserve , to which all operators will pay 1,5% of their annual revenue.
Access to this service reserve will be open only for those operators who agree to participate in state social development programmes.
In order to get a license for international communication services, operators would be required to set up their network infrastructure on the whole territory of the country. "According to WTO requirements, any subscriber should have the choice of alternative providers, even if he lives in a rural area," said deputy minister.
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