"Black and white" mobile phones in Azerbaijan
By Nigar Orujova
Today, mobile phone has become such an inseparable part of our lives that we hardly can imagine a day without it.
Azerbaijanis are no exception. The mobile phone penetration in the country is 110 percent. The number of mobile broadband connections in Azerbaijan is 43.9 per 100 people, and in this term, the country stands at 46th place in the world.
Azerbaijan’s market is highly filled with mobile phones, smart phones. Today, their import is decreasing.
The total number of mobile phones as well as other devices, including tablet and laptops, imported to Azerbaijan in the first ten months of 2014 amounted to 77,836 units worth $4,452 million, according to the State Statistics Committee.
Compared with the same period of last year, the number of imported mobile phones has decreased by 16 percent.
On average, the number of imported mobile phones to the country per month amounted to 7,700.
The growth of gray imports affects the official statistics on deliveries of mobile phones to the country. Over the past two years, the government has been trying to reduce supplies of such mobile devices to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijanis usually prefer Samsung, Apple, and Nokia phones. Most modern mobile phones of the well-known manufacturers meet the required standards with the lowest negative impact on our health.
However, there are also other devices mostly produced in China. These devices do not meet required standards. Before operating these mobile phones, you should test them in terms of safety and security. This test requires a special laboratory, but there is not such place in Azerbaijan now.
However, in the near future, a special center will appear in the country to test quality standards of telecommunication and broadcasting equipment. If the center founds out that a certain device lacks the required standards, the government will stop its import.
Still, there is also a way to protect the market from poor quality goods. The system of registration of IMEI-code of mobile phones has been commissioned across the country from May 2013. The cost of registration of IMEI-code of mobile devices imported for personal use stands at 5 manats ($6.3) and for commercial sale 0.2 manats ($0.25).
The IMEI-code registration is carried out at the offices of Azerpoct, service centers of mobile operators, via electronic government portal (e-gov.az) and site imei.az. Mobile devices imported into the country must be registered within the first 30 days. The rule does not apply to tourists and visitors coming to Azerbaijan, whose mobile phones works in roaming.
At present, the IMEI-code database includes about 14 million mobile phones. The new system allows obtaining accurate information about the mobile phone market.
The IMEI-code can be checked in the database using the site imei.az.
From May 2013, about 120,000 phones which do not meet required quality standards have been left out of the list of networking operators. But there are still poor quality phones in the network.
However, their users need to get familiar with their phones’ harms including health problems and signal problems for other devices. Moreover, they may contain spyware. We should have all these facts in mind while buying another cheap mobile phone.