By Yuri Chernyakevich
Modern technologies are developing rapidly, with the Internet no longer confined to home PC use. The past 5-10 years have seen a revolution in technology, allowing us online access from our phones and other mobile devices.
Belarus’ mobile communication market has expanded into third generation (3G) technology within the past year or two, thanks to high-speed access and wireless communication. According to the National Statistical Committee, in 2011, just 1.8 million people were using mobile broadband access to the Internet. By 2012, the number exceeded 3 million. Now, almost a third of subscribers use a mobile device (a smart phone or tablet) for online access. You’ve only to observe those using public transport to see the true situation.
Besides a greater number of people using the Internet, Belarusians are also downloading more information. Over the last two years, mobile access to the Net has grown 10-fold: on average, reaching 800Mb per person per month. Naturally, this relies on speedy data transmission and a good quality of connection. Where customers are disappointed, they soon vote with their feet, obliging operators to constantly upgrade available services.
Wi-Fi technology is now more wide spread across Belarus, with over 400 public Wi-Fi access points to become operational in the capital in time for the World Hockey Championship in 2014 (doubling current provision). Access will be possible from hotels, sports complexes and public places, for payment of a small fee to Beltelecom.
Mobile devices are able to perform more functions than ever before; not long ago, Minsk’s Akademiya Nauk underground station launched a terminal allowing SMS payment of fares, explains Pavel Petrulevich, the Head of Administration, at the Ministry of Communications and Informatisation. He tells us, “Absolutely new ICT concepts are coming; in particular, technological devices will become fully-fledged online participants. For example, many television receivers no longer need antennas, being able to download content independently, taking into account the preferences of viewers. Refrigerators will also soon be able to show which items need restocking and, even, place an order with a designated shop.”
Undoubtedly, dynamic IT evolution is occurring in Belarus, with novelties launching every day.