The Business Year

Chiril Gaburici

AZERBAIJAN - Telecoms & IT


CEO, Azercell Telecom


Chiril Gaburici launched his career in telecommunications at Moldcell, a part of the TeliaSonera Group of companies, as a Regional Sales Representative in 2001. He was promoted to Regional Sales Manager in 2004, and ultimately to CEO in 2008. He was appointed CEO of Azercell Telecom on September 1, 2012.

What were some of Azercell’s landmark developments of 2013? Overall, 2013 for Azercell may be characterized as one of improvement and innovation. Despite our full population coverage, we took other […]

What were some of Azercell’s landmark developments of 2013?

Overall, 2013 for Azercell may be characterized as one of improvement and innovation. Despite our full population coverage, we took other major steps toward network expansion by installing over 1,200 2G/3G/4G base stations. This was a record network rollout both in number of stations and timing. It accommodated the ever-growing demand for voice and data traffic, the latter having marked a tremendous growth of 120% in 2012. Another imperative for growing our network by over 20% was the approaching mobile number portability (MNP) project, which the company has been running as a 1.5-year cross-functional project. We have ensured that subscribers coming from our competitors enjoy a hassle-free experience, and that we have sufficient capacity to serve all of our customers at the highest quality standards. We have also boldly invested in our 4G LTE network, increasing the number of sites covering Baku and the Absheron peninsula. We pioneered the deployment of LTE in Azerbaijan, aware that it is the platform on which to develop next generation technologies and services. Our technologies also benefit society and the public service. In 2013, Azercell pioneered a system of authentication for mobile digital signatures, ASAN Imza (mobile signature). This enables subscribers to conduct electronic transactions at zero risk of fraud. Another innovation we launched that year was machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, enabling data measurement, collection, and transmission to relevant recipients. This technology is utilized by, among others, banking, transportation, security, the health sector, and utility services.

Have average revenue per user (ARPU) rates been positively affected by the growing use of smartphone technology?

As in Azerbaijan, data usage is rapidly rising worldwide, and hence mobile broadband leadership is one of Azercell’s priorities. In mature markets, the tendency is for revenue growth to mostly derive from mobile internet; in our case, there is still a rising pattern for voice. However, a considerable portion of ARPU growth is already due to the tremendous growth of mobile internet usage. Customers are currently adopting data into their daily lives and, one day, I suspect this may fully replace voice communication needs. Globally, then, mobile internet’s contribution to ARPU is growing, as that of voice declines over time. The telecommunications industry is re-inventing itself, and we are already on the cusp of this, stepping forward to data-centric communications, M2M, and the “Internet of Things.”

Azercell’s parent company, TeliaSonera, operates in 20 markets globally. How does Azercell leverage this additional international experience?

TeliaSonera has immense telecom experience spanning over 150 years; providing network access and telecommunication services that enable easy, efficient, and environmentally friendly communications. TeliaSonera invented and introduced mobile communication, and TeliaSonera experts also took an active part in developing the most widespread mobile communication standard of our times, GSM, in the 1980s. In December 2009, TeliaSonera became the first company in the world to commercially launch 4G services in Stockholm and Oslo. And in 2013, it was the first in the world to launch international 4G roaming. The know-how and expertise TeliaSonera has to offer us as a shareholder is clear. The international hands-on experience of TeliaSonera helps us increase mobile penetration, delivering our services in a cost-effective and sustainable manner, which leads to sustainable improved profitability and business growth.



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