Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Central Asian Internet Penetration from World Bank

Today Google announced public data available from World Bank integrated into Google Search.

Below you can see graph with Internet penetration in Central Asian countries:

Link: Internet Penetration in Central Asia 1997-2008

Internet penetration seems to be several times higher, thus more optimistic, comparing to data from ITU for all countries (see also 'at a glance' articles of this blog for each country: KZ KG TJ TM UZ).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Facebook reached Odnoklassniki in Kazakhstan?

In Google Trends, tool which compares search volume for given queries, you can see that Facebook has now caught Odnoklassniki by Google search queries numbers in Kazakhstan.

As you can see on the graph Odnoklassniki queries emerged in the country in November 2007 since then it boomed until middle 2008. Facebook raised in October 2008 and started to catch up with Russian social network in September 2009.

Link: Google Trends - Facebook vs Odnoklassniki in Kazakhstan

Top cities in Kazakhstan where Odnoklassniki is more popular:
1. Kustanay*
2. Koshetau*
3. Karaganda*
4. Pavlodar*
5. Astana
6. Chimkent*
7. Almaty*
8. Atyrau

* - more queries than Facebook

Top languages for Odnoklassniki queries:
1. Russian
2. Kazakh
3. English

Top cities in Kazakhstan where Facebook is more popular:
1. Atyrau*
2. Astana*
3. Chimkent
4. Almaty

* - more queries than Odnoklassniki

Top languages for Facebook queries:
1. Turkish
2. Italian
3. English
4. Kazakh
5. Russian

From language data possible guess could be that Turkish expats are ones of the heaviest Facebook users in Kazakhstan. What is your opinion on that? Why do you think Italian is also so high? Please add your comments below.

What about other Central Asian countries? Unfortunately there is not enough search volume for Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. There is some data for 2009 for Uzbekistan though. Odnoklassniki seem to dominate for now.

Link: Google Trends - Facebook vs Odnoklassniki in Uzbekistan

At a glance:

Launched: 2006/03
Registered users: 30'000'000 (2009/02)

Launched: 2004/02/04
Registered users: 100'000'000 (2008/08)
Active users: 150'000'000 (2009/01)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

IT Cooperation Between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan

Yerlan Durmagambetov, the deputy chairman of the Agency for Information and Communications of Kazakhstan gave an interview to S. Babayeva, Azerbaijan's Trend Capital news agency journalist.

Question: What would you recommend Azerbaijan for the establishment of efficient model of Electronic Government?

Answer: The development of the information and communication technologies has become an important factor in the world community’s life. Their wider applications have improved the public life and lead to the revolutionary progress in the economic, social, culture and other spheres. One of the major tasks set for Kazakhstan is the establishment of information society. This task is being successfully fulfilled in Kazakhstan, thanks to the implementation of a program on development of Electronic Government allocated for the period till 2010. At present, measures to form an infrastructure of Electronic Governments have been realized in Kazakhstan.

The action plan on formation of infrastructure of the Electronic Government was developed in consideration with the experience of countries which have considerable achievements in this sphere – Korea, Singapore, India, Estonia, the United States, Italy and Germany.

The application of Electronic Government in Azerbaijan was carried out in four stages:

- Information – publication and dissemination of information (2005-2006);

- Interactive – interactive services rendered through straight and reverse interaction between the state bodies and citizens (2006-2007);

- Transaction – transactional interaction through implementing financial operations through the government portal (2007 – 2008);

- Formation of information society, with the domination of electronic services over papers, which will cover the full life-cycle of the mankind (2010 and after).

At present, actions are taken to realize a program on decreasing the information inequality in Kazakhstan in 2007–2009. The key task of the program is to carry out full scale actions for the computer literacy of the population and training of qualified teachers and IT specialists. Incredible work is being done in Kazakhstan currency with respect to make computers and Internet more accessible. Thus, tariffs for access to the international network are decreased and measures to develop the Kazakh segment of the world network are taken. Within the framework of formation of the Electronic Government, twelve IТ-projects were implemented- with seven already set for implementations.

An important aspect in formation of the Electronic Government is the program management structure. The experience of Denmark, Canada and Korea shows that this cooperation between the administrations in charge of distributing funds, contributes in the development of principles, enabling to cover a range of aspects regarding the Electronic Government. We advise Azerbaijan to study the experience of South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore for successful building of the Electronic Government.

Question: What major projects could Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan carry out jointly in the near future?

Answer: At the moment, the project on the construction of the Subsea Fiber Optic cable via the Caspian Sea from Siyazan to Aktau is at the initial phase. It is also possible to carry out projects on exchange of experience in the implementation of the Electronic Government projects

Question: How will the countries be benefited from the realization of project on construction of Caspian segment of the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable?

Answer: The Communications Administrations have determined managers under this project. KAzTransKom, one of the big operators of city and international communications acts from the part of Kazakhstan. At present, the procedures for the selection of a consultant on development of feasibility study of the project are underway.

Every party has its interest in the implementation of the project. Kazakhstan is particularly interested in designing alternative line to the European countries and increasing its transit potential.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Number of Uzbek Internet Users Exceeds 2.01 Million

The number of Internet users in Uzbekistan exceeded 2.01 million, the Uzbek agency for communication and information (UzACI) said in a press release.

As of 1 January 2008, more than 780 entities were providing data transfer services, including Internet access. There are currently more than 6,000 active domains in the national domain zone UZ.

Mobile subscribers amounted to 5.888 million as of 1 January, having increased by 3.168 million during 2007.

The number of companies and organizations producing software in Uzbekistan was more than 210 at the end of last year.

According to UzACI, enterprises of the ICT sector provided services worth 882 billion soums last year, of which 517 billion soums or 58.6% were services to the population.

Source: UzDaily

Webstan note:
Number of Internet users in Uzbekistan in May 2007 [source: ITU] used to be 1,745,000 users or 6.6% of population. estimate of current population is 27,780,059 (July 2007), it means penetration rate has grown up by 0.6% in half-year up to 7.2%.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Belarus Software Company to Build a Search Engine for Kazakhstan

SoftInform sofware development company from Belarus opened its branch in Almaty, Kazakhstan in February 2008. One of its first goals of SoftInform is to gain image in Kazakhstan by developing a new search engine for users of Kazakhstan.

SoftInform has experience in developing search engines and information security products.

WiMax in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

AsiaInfo Internet Provider announced a start of development and testing of a new wireless broadband Internet access in Kyrgyzstan. It's a first WiMax technology in Kyrgyzstan.

First base station with 15km radius has already been installed in the capital - Bishkek, it's able to provide WiMax Internet access to the whole city. Approximate radius of Bishkek city is about 8 kilometers.

Price plans (converted to euro as of 24/02/2008):
1) Office - Eco
Installation 18 euro
Monthly payment 21 euro
Traffic limit: 250Mb international, 1Gb Kyrgyzstan
Extra traffic: 1 Gb international - 40 euro, 1Gb Kyrgyzstan - 1.5 euro
Connection speed: 64Kbps

2) Office - Optim
Installation 28 euro
Monthly payment 35.5 euro
Traffic limit: 650Mb international, 3Gb Kyrgyzstan
Extra traffic: 1 Gb international - 38 euro, 1Gb Kyrgyzstan - 1.4 euro
Connection speed: 128Kbps

3) Office - Pro
Installation 36 euro
Monthly payment 60 euro
Traffic limit: 1400Mb international, 8Gb Kyrgyzstan
Extra traffic: 1 Gb international - 36 euro, 1Gb Kyrgyzstan - 1.3 euro
Connection speed: 256Kbps

Official price-list:
AsiaInfo WiMax Price Plans (Russian language)

You can compare prices to mobile Internet providers here:
Mobile Internet Prices in Kyrgyzstan

Here are comparison-friendly price plans converted to USD:
1) Office - Eco
First month + installation: $58, i.e. 1Mb international - $0.23, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.06
Other months: 1Mb international - $0.13, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.03
Extra traffic: 1Mb international - $0.06, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.002

2) Office - Optim
First month + installation: $95, i.e. 1Mb international - $0.15, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.03
Other months: 1Mb international - $0.09, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.02
Extra traffic: 1Mb international - $0.05, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.002

3) Office - Pro
First month + installation: $142, i.e. 1Mb international - $0.10, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.02
Other months: 1Mb international - $0.06, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.01
Extra traffic: 1Mb international - $0.05, 1Mb Kyrgyzstan - $0.002

Some conclusions from AsiaInfo WiMax vs Mobile Internet comparison:

WiMax from AsiaInfo is always cheaper for Kyrgyzstan traffic.
WiMax from AsiaInfo is cheaper and faster if you need more than 1400Mb international or 8Gb Kyrgyzstan traffic.
Mobile Internet from Fonex or Nexi is faster and cheaper than AsiaInfo's Office-Eco and Office-Optim.
Mobile Internet has no traffic limit and distinction between international and Kyrgyzstan traffic.

Image from:

Freedom of Speech in the Internet in Central Asia 2008

Reporters without Borders published new reports about freedom of speech and specifically Internet censorship. Here are reports on Central Asian countries:

Freedom of Speech in Kazakhstan [Internet cases]
Freedom of Speech in Kyrgyzstan
Freedom of Speech in Tajikistan [Internet cases]
Freedom of Speech in Turkmenistan [Internet cases]
Freedom of Speech in Uzbekistan [Internet cases]