Seven issues that concern belarusian telecom operators

LLC NEWLAND technology / 21.08.2019

Seven issues that concern belarusian telecom operators

Association “Belinfokom” was founded twelve years ago, in 2007. The organization deals successfully with various issues. In particular, thanks to them an offer to register each e-mail box in the country (under act №60) and a demand to pay for the radio spectrum while connecting to the currency (under act № 240) failed to remain in force. Surely, there are still issues in law. That is why the reps of association organized a round-table discussion to think over several issues and the ways to resolve them.

”Belinfokom” consists of mobile network operators, internet- and hosting-providers, equipment manufacturers and system integrators. The purpose is to represent and protect professional, legal, economic interests of the information-technology field under the government agencies. In addition, the association aims to support associate members with information, consulate and methodic assistance.

Now the association is one of those to discuss draft laws about personal data, payment systems, telecom and programs to develop 5G-technologies in the country.

Connecting telecom operators together

Now only three organizations are authorized to connect operator’s networks, which are Beltelecom National Traffic Exchange Center (NTEC) and beCloud.

One of the questions discussed in the round table was: is it necessary to give such an opportunity to other operators and what economic and technical impact will it bring to telecom networks in Belarus. NTEC states that this could lead to a peer-to-peer war. But the members of the round table are optimistic about it: they believe that it could reduce tariffs and there are no technical complications for such connection.

— Will the operators be permitted to connect directly? This issue is on the agenda from year 2007. Now it is necessary to connect through the authorized agencies which is inconvenient, expensive and inflexible, — says the chairman of “Belinfokom” board Andrey Nareyko. — We proposed several amendments to the act about telecommunication in Belarus and this is under control of a working group in the parlament.

The networks in new buildings and radio spectrum usage

Now to build its networks in houses, the operators are to approve it with either housing and public utilities or housing cooperative. The exception is “Beltelecom” which is installed by default.

As mentioned by the head of information technology of “United networks” ( Maksim Khainatskiy that it is difficult to deal with a subscriber base which has already chosen its network operator.

Andrey Nareyko mentions that it is logic to use already existing fiber optic installed in houses to rent it for other operators on a contract basis. Such practice is used by several EU countries.

— To encourage competition Ministry of Communications had better not be the owner of “Beltelecom”. Anyway it is the Ministry to decide whether to approve the laws or not. For that reason, we propose not to link the operators and regulatory agencies. The issue is a working progress and Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus (MART) stated that it might be considered.

The members of round table come to the conclusion to make several amendments in the law act “About telecommunications” which, as a result, may reduce time for all the operators installed in houses.

Another important issue to discuss and make applicable changes in “the Act about telecommunications” is a multi-user radio spectrum.

What is it? Radio spectrum assigned to one user by law may be used by another user on the basis of concluded agreement.

This way will allow to extend coverage areas and improve the network quality.

5G development

Now we are at the edge of global changes when each person and every device, regardless of its location, will exchange real-time data of large volume. Although we need more advanced networks.

5G networks open new opportunities in many fields from increasing effectivity of industrial processes, ensuring security in the city, in particular on roads, to improving public utilities and cleaner environment.

Developers of 5G technologies brought up the characteristics which are more advanced than those of 3G and 4G. For instance, mobile data speed in 5G networks is to be 10-100 times faster than 4G technologies (LTE), response time is 5 times lower and the networks are to support 100 times more devices.

The developers anticipate wide 5G deployment by 2020. By 2021 5G services will cover 1,5% of overall data of mobile traffic, and average 5G connection will generate 4,7 times more traffic than those of 4G, at the same time, 10,7 times more than of 3G.

But first many are to be handled. That way, under the instructions of the minister of communications “Belinfokom” association created an interagency working group to design an implementation plan for 5G technologies in Belarus.

According to the executive director of “Belinfokom” association Sergey Bogdanov several proposals were established to provide radio frequency resource for 5G networks, possible alternatives of installing, offers to improve the law. In June 2019 Project plan was taken before the Council of Ministers in the Republic of Belarus.

Development of electronic services in every area

Statistics provided by “United networks” LLC shows that in June 2019 the volume of consumed external traffic became 4,2 more comparing with 2014. We can assume that around 145 Gb per month accrues to one user.

In addition, according to the ICT Development Index (IDI) Belarus takes the 32nd place within the International Telecommunications Union comparing Russia on the 45th, Lithuania on the 35th and Latvia on the 35th. It shows that Belarusians use the internet practically in each sphere of their lives.

For instance, through internet various services are paid. That way, new mobile services are being launched in our country, mobile operators are launching their own cash-cards and statistics show that it will only grow.

By the end of the year the law about payment systems and services is to be passed in Belarus, which will allow to provide payment services not only for the banks but mobile network operators, internet-portals, virtual platforms, delivery services, etc.

— Peculiarity of legal regulation of electronic payments slow down e- commerce development in our country, - says Ludmila Checkina General Director of “TUT BY MEDIA”. — Now any payment is a banking activity, that is why you must be either banking financial organization or paying agent which is pretty complicated. That is the reason why outsourcing delivery services are not developing. Nevertheless, the law about payment systems has to resolve the issue.

IT-projects for health services

Not long ago Belinfokom joined with S&T Services Bel, which is part of the largest IT-service suppliers for Central and Eastern Europe.

Oksana Kuntz the head of Belarusian branch says that the company realizes projects for the interest of end-client. For instance, Polish S&T implemented and now maintains a range of electronic services, which facilitate document flow among citizens and government, communication with offices of technical inspection, accrediting and certification centers, patent bureaus. In addition, Poland created central platform for electronic services in health area allowing to write electronic prescriptions, timely inform about specialized medical researches and exchange medical info.

— Similar IT-projects in the field of state regulation were realized by the concern in Serbia, Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia. The Company is interested in developing such in Belarus, that is why we are planning to present the idea to Ministry of Communication to share the experience from another countries and think about potential opportunities in Belarus, - she pointed out.

But surely S&T Services Bel are not the only ones working in such a direction. For instance, several Belarusian companies, such as EPAM, have gathered a working group on developing a platform for “e-health”. Ministry of Health also deals in developing new technologies. S&T may as well share the experience with another companies and further find its own gap in the market.

Smart city

The idea of Smart City has existed for some 20 years. Simply speaking this is a city, which is the most convenient to live. To manage it new technologies are here to assist.

In Belarus a concept for “smart city” development was accepted. NEWLAND technology deals in that in Minsk.

We design software, electronic devices, software and hardware complexes and automated systems. Basically we develop everything which is comprised be the definition of “Smart city”, — says Ivan Tserakh the head of technical department. — Unfortunately, “Smart city” has no exact definition. In fact, anyone working with automating urban activities may claim to be involved in “smart city” concept. The idea covers traffic and light management, public security issue including video-surveillance and video-monitoring of urban facilities, for instance, fulfillment of trash bins.

From “smart city” view point the main difference between our company and any other ones is creating the system comprising local controllers of various modifications and the central programmed module, which collects data from all the controllers allowing to visualize and analyze data, then put all gathered info in a “cloud”.

In particular, company plans to use temperature, humidity sensors, in addition the sensors to identify free parking spaces — this way it is not necessary to deal with big data flow and 3G speed would be more than enough.

It is clear that “smart city” concept is about full control. How would the citizens react to this? Ivan Tserakh says that a law-abiding person has nothing to be afraid of. Moreover, it became a common practice.

— We did not conduct a global research, but personally I may stand out for the system allowing to anticipate crimes. In the end, person’s location having an ordinary mobile phone is easily detected using already existing programs.

The participants believe preparing the legal base on e-commerce regulation and activities to implement new technologies is far from being easy. It covers complicated issues of many participants and demands some compromise in interest.

Generally, regulatory system in this area is new to people and pretty sensitive to the mistakes. Belinfokom associates acknowledge such risks and ready to work together to search for constructive solutions.