Uzbekistan's state-owned operator Uzbektelecom has signed a new infrastructure agreement with four Japanese firms - Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ), NEC, NTT and Toyota Tsusho.
The agreement will see the firms provide network equipment and services for a wide-reaching initiative under the Digital Uzbekistan 2030 digital economy programme – an initiative pushed by the country’s government in order to meet escalating data communication demand driven by the increased digitalisation across industry verticals.
Under the initiative, Uzbektelecom plans to expand its transport and data networks, improve the speed and capacity of its international data network, and deploy new data centres in three of Uzbekistan’s largest cities – Bukahara, Kokand and Tashkent. This will help the operator to improve quality of service and boost connectivity between rural and urban locations.
NEC will provide optical wavelength multiplexing communications equipment and training for Uzbektelecom's operational staff as part of the transport network and data network expansion. IIJ meanwhile will provide containerised IT modules for the construction of the new data centres, as well as building the cloud platform and providing training for Uzbektelecom's data center operational staff.
NTT will deliver equipment for the large-scale communication network and education for Uzbektelecom's operational staff, while Toyota Tsusho will export the equipment and serve as the overall coordinator of the project.
Installation is scheduled for 2023, with funding provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the MUFG Bank. Nikkei Asia reports that these institutions will extend financing of around 19.3 billion yen (US$148 million) to Uzbektelecom, of which JBIC will account for around 60% with MUFG as a co-lender. The latter’s portion will be insured by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).