The path of technological development cannot be bended and today's human interactions predominantly rely on advanced networking options applied greatly in every corner of the globe.
This culture and society research project analyzes the competition between GSM companies in Kazakhstan, particularly 'K'cell' and 'K-mobile'. The emphasis is placed on social problems, including poor quality of service, prices, and customer attitudes. The research question is whether there is true competition between GSM companies in Kazakhstan, especially between 'K'cell' and 'K-mobile'. The spotlight of the research is how competition affects people living in Kazakhstan.
One of the most significant innovations in mobile communications and cell telephony is associated with the approval of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard in 1984 by the European Commission. As of 2006, GSM was actively applied by more than two billion people in over 212 countries.1 In actual fact, GSM standard assumes cellular network that connects mobile phones by searching nearby cells. In turn, mobile phones operators apply GSM to provide international roaming worldwide. Customers apparently benefit from GSM application since it enables them to receive high digital voice quality at relatively low cost for calls and text messages. Another attribute of GSM popularity is the SIM card. Subscriber Identity Module, which is a detachable smart card that stores user data. Mobile operators are changed at users' discretion by simple replacement of SIM cards (GSM Association, 2007).
Kazakhstan's Telecom Market
Kazakhstan's telecom market is booming. According to the new legislation adopted in 2004, the telecom sector was liberalized and that stop 'Kazakh telecom' monopoly. Rapid development of the mobile market led to the increase of mobile subscribers (from 260,000 in 2000 to more than 5 million in early 2006) (Totel, 2006). At present, two leading GSM providers operating in the Kazakh domestic market are "K'cell" (60%) and "K-mobile" (30%) with the remaining 5% covered by other mobile operators.
'K'cell' was founded on 30 September, 1998 and since then it is symbolized by 'K'cell' and "Active" trade mark. The company involves such shareholders as 'GSM Kazakhstan', "Kazakh telecom" JSC and the joint company representing three countries, Finland, Turkey and Sweden, "Fin Tur Holdings B.V." Furthermore, 'K'cell' is a national leader, consider the scope of provided services, to number of subscribers (approx. 3.3 m.), and actual amount of investments. To prove this, during 2002-2005 the company was awarded the status of a lead cellular operator in Kazakhstan (K'Cell, 2006). In addition, the company was warded the prize called "Choice of the Year in Kazakhstan" and therefore became lead cellular