Trend interviewed Jeyhun Mollazade, the boss of the company AzQtel (Sazz 4G).
Question: What is AzQtel doing as part of the Sazz 4G wireless broadband development strategy?
A: At present, our network covers Baku, Sumgait, Khirdalan, the settlements of the districts of Guba, Gusar, Khachmaz, Sheki, Zagatala, Beylagan, Ganja, Mingachevir, Masalli, Lankaran and Astara, as well as most of the settlements. from the Apsheron Peninsula. We have installed as many base stations as possible in the capital. The speed of data transmission in Baku remains stable even while moving in a car at high speed. Our main task is to update the technology, as further development plans for WiMAX technology globally have been put on hold.
Currently, there are more advanced technologies such as FDD LTE and TDD LTE in the market. The flexibility of the latter makes it possible to optimize and efficiently distribute traffic at peak times. But since the difference in data transmission speed between WiMAX and TDD LTE was not that big, we decided to invest in the more advanced TDD LTE Advanced technology. If there is a will to transfer, it is better to switch to the more advanced technology. We tested the technology at the frequency of 3.5 MHz. This frequency is recognized as the most optimal for the use of TDD LTE. The 3.5 MHz frequency range is positioned not only for TDD LTE, but also for the development of the future 5G standard, which is expected after 2020.
Our frequency range allows us to build the first Pre 5G network with a data transfer rate of up to 1 gigabit per second until 2017. Today we demonstrate a data transfer rate of up to 900 megabits per second. second at our booth as part of the BakuTel-2015 exhibition.
Question: How rational is the use of high frequency to extend network coverage?
A: There is a notion that low frequencies can extend network coverage, but at the same time, their capacity remains low. Unlike the low frequency range, the high frequencies – 3.5 megahertz and above have a higher bandwidth. Therefore, the GTI (Global Technology Infrastructure) organization announced a frequency resource of 3-6 MHz as the most suitable for 5G networks, and a frequency of 3.5 MHz as one of the most attractive. Voice services are increasingly giving way to mobile broadband access. The paradigm is that while mobile voice services don’t require high bandwidth, mobile broadband internet has a much higher priority than greater coverage. Practice shows that in urban areas, to improve bandwidth, it is necessary to install base stations close to each other. Therefore, 5G, according to many experts, is likely to be developed via the TDD LTE (Long-Term Evolution Time-Division Duplex) standard at high frequencies.
Regarding communication standards, it can certainly be said that 3G will leave the market faster than 2G, and that it will be replaced by 4G and 5G technologies. As for 2G, this communication standard will exist until voice services completely migrate to VoLTE (Voice over LTE) technology, which is being actively tested in many countries.
Question: Could the migration of voice services to IP affect the further decline in the cost of mobile voice services?
A: I think users will pay a fixed fee, for example 10-20 manat to receive an internet traffic package, which will also include voice services. That is, there will be no separate charges for voice services and they will be part of the package offered. In this regard, VoLTE will be a revolutionary technology and by paying for mobile broadband, subscribers will be able to get a total of three services: data transmission services, video and voice services.
Question: Can we then say that Sazz 4G is gradually turning into a service provider?
A: We are an internet and data service provider. Initially, when creating our network, we relied on WiMAX technology. However, in current realities, this technology is becoming âruralâ, ie its use becomes more rational beyond the capital and large cities. The demand for internet traffic has increased dramatically in Baku and in fact WiMAX does not meet the growing demand from users. Internet traffic consumption is growing exponentially, and this trend will continue in the years to come. Therefore, high frequencies are important to us. That is to say that the high frequencies will make it possible to increase the subscriber base while improving the quality of services.
Our plans include the transition to TDD LTE Advanced (Pre5G), which enables data transmission services at speeds of up to one gigabit.
We hope that by the end of 2016, this technology will be used commercially in a number of Asian countries, and then we will be able to conclude discussions with our investors to achieve this transition.
As a first step, we intend to cover the Absheron peninsula and present the devices allowing our users to connect to this network.
Q: How will existing subscribers migrate to the new standard?
A: There are several options for transitioning existing customers to the new technology.
There are smooth and immediate transition options. If the operator is able to deliver end-user devices to their customers within a week or a month, this transition can be instantaneous.
A smooth transition involves parallel use of two standards over a period of one year.
During this period, new subscribers will be able to connect to the LTE network, while existing subscribers using WiMAX technology will be offered favorable conditions to migrate to LTE, for example to replace their old modems with new ones at reduced prices.
We will consult with operators who have already performed such a migration.
But in any case, every effort will be made to make the transition from WiMAX to LTE as easy as possible for our customers.