Yet, the country’s telecom sector remains substantially underdeveloped, with an Internet penetration rate of slightly more than 10 percent.
IFC has provided a $30 million loan to Tcell, the largest mobile operator in Tajikistan, to support its efforts to expand network and improve connectivity across the country.
The firm, which became in 2006 one of the first mobile telecommunication companies in Central Asia to launch 3G services, plans to grow its broadband service business over the next few years by building out its 4G/LTE network and launching a fixed broadband offering.
IFC’s investment will help Tcell upgrade its network, increase coverage, and make mobile services more accessible and affordable, especially in remote, less-densely populated areas of the country. Numerous studies have demonstrated that increased broadband penetration benefits the economy by accelerating information flows, increasing productivity across major industries, and facilitating business activity among private and public entities.
“Improving infrastructure is critical in driving Tajikistan’s economic growth,” said Christopher Miller, IFC Country Officer in Tajikistan. “Our investment in Tcell is part of our commitment to accelerating private participation in infrastructure development. We expect this project to help improve access to knowledge and services, and enable new models of efficient delivery of government and business services.”