The leading mobile operator supported the country in all areas in the challenging year of 2020
Azercell Telecom's commitment to make the digital future accessible to its customers and to respond more quickly to the needs of a dynamically changing world justified itself successfully in the transformation that 2020 brought to the global community. Azercell's digitalization strategy, aligning with the new style of living and working in the isolated environment across the world, offered people of all ages a comfortable and fast way to communicate in education, entertainment and business fields. Its aim to make the daily lives of its customers more comfortable through innovative services and technological solutions made it possible for the leading mobile operator to connect with its 5 millionth subscriber in 2020.
Azercell Telecom managed to complete 2020, a year of challenges for both national and global economy, with no losses and remarkable achievements. As the largest taxpayer in Azerbaijan's non-oil sector, with 49% share in the country's mobile communications market in 2020, Azercell paid AZN 111 million in taxes to the state budget in 2020, and a total of AZN 2 billion over 24 years. The mobile operator invested USD 58 million in the development of telecommunications in Azerbaijan in 2020, and USD 1.7 billion over 1996-2020.
Azercell established the first communication and mobile internet network in our liberated regions, including Shusha - the pearl of Karabakh, in 2020, a year of the glorious victory for the people of Azerbaijan. Now, the geographical coverage of the mobile operator has reached 94.8%, including the liberated territories of the country while the population coverage stands at 98.8%. Azercell Telecom, which always stands at the forefront in quality and fast mobile internet services, successfully implemented its LTE network improvement project in the country in 2020. Thus, the coverage of Azercell's LTE network has increased from 74.2% to 85.1% over the year. At the same time, 784 new radio base stations operating on 4G technology were installed in 2020, and the number of LTE-backed stations reached 2,679. The volume of data transmitted over the Azercell network increased 2.25 times. In general, internet traffic on the LTE network alone grew by 60% in 2020.
During 2020, the work aiming to provide stations and tunnels of Baku Metro with LTE network was successfully continued, and currently Azercell 4G network is active in 14 metro stations of the capital city.
A completely new era started in the history of the Azerbaijani people in 2020 with the liberation of our lands, which have been under occupation for almost 30 years. Azercell, which also left its own footprints in this glorious period, became one of the most active members of our united society. The company transferred 1 million AZN to the Armed Forces Assistance Fund. Moreover, Azercell's "Kabinetim" mobile application provided an opportunity to donate to this Fund. Azercell also provided its support to anyone in need during the war. The company increased the balance of local residents amid the terrorist attacks in Barda and Ganja, and uploaded 100 AZN to the balance of all media representatives sent to the frontline.
The first half of 2020 was marked by the challenges caused by other enemy - COVID-19 virus, which has spread around the world, and the strict lockdown declared in the country. Azercell joined the active fight in this frontline, as well, by donating 2 million AZN to the Coronavirus Response Fund. The company also introduced a Mobile Payment service to make it easier for everyone to donate to the Fund. During this period, subscribers over 65 who were banned from leaving their homes were provided with Mobile Customer Service at home and completely free of charge.
The next demonstration of solidarity was to our compatriots who were abroad during the first period of quarantine and could not return to the country. Thus, Azercell uploaded 50 AZN to the balance of roaming subscribers. In addition, all Azercell subscribers were provided an opportunity to make free calls to the "Hotline" of the State Agency for Compulsory Medical Insurance.
Within the framework of the anti COVID-19 measures, Azercell uploaded 50 AZN as a gift to the mobile balance of about 700 healthcare workers fighting the virus for seven times. In addition, more than 30,000 teachers who conducting lessons online during social lockdown were provided with a 5GB internet package. During the quarantine period, Azercell delivered food packages and holiday gifts to about 11,000 low-income families and veterans of the Great Patriotic War in the Absheron Peninsula and regions on the occasion of Novruz, Ramadan and the 28th of May - Republic Day.
Despite the social isolation that covered most of 2020, Azercell's various service channels have achieved high performance by applying a more intensive and efficient response system to customer inquiries. Thus, Azercell's Call Center received a total of nearly 4 million queries last year, of which 95% were answered. Also, 449,337 inquiries were received through online customer services, and 98% of them were responded. In addition, 135 000 inquiries were received from Azercell's official Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Linked pages. During 2020, almost 1 million subscribers were served face-to-face at Front Desk, Azercell Express, Azercell Exclusive offices, as well as through Mobile Customer Services.
It should be noted that Azercell managed to maintain the quality of service at the highest level through all channels thanks to the efforts of its employees, despite the enhanced and intensive work schedule during the 44-day Patriotic War. Thus, according to the latest statistics, the response rate to inquiries received through online channels in 2020 increased up to 100%. Even in the long-term strict lockdown applied in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, Azercell Customer Services operated online without a break. As a proof of compliance with the highest world standards of the Customer Service system established in the country, Azercell was awarded ISO 10002: 2018, which is a certificate of compliance with the Quality Management / Customer Satisfaction / Complaints Review Guidelines standard.
The renewed "Kabinetim" mobile app introduced by Azercell in the previous year made a variety of other digital services available for users. With the "Mobile Payment" service, subscribers can make payments for utilities, communications and banking services, as well as donate to the national army and the COVID-19 Response Fund. The world-famous "Busuu" app was offered to subscribers on special terms. During the year, Azercell introduced some innovations in the field of mobile television. Thus, the Mobile TV service for children was launched. As part of the BluTV service, popular Turkish movies and series have become available to Azercell subscribers. The number of TV channels was increased in the NNTV application. As a result, the number of active subscribers using Azercell's digital solutions rose by 18% over the past year.
Azercell pleased its subscribers with a range of campaigns and favorable tariff packages throughout the year. The "Yeni Hər Yerə" tariff allowing subscribers to communicate more affordably with their relatives has been launched,. In addition, the leading mobile operator introduced an innovative service “Telegram Bot”. Furthermore, within the confines of promotional campaigns of the company, customers were able to get the latest made Samsung and iPhone smartphones on favorable terms, with minutes of call and internet packages. Thanks to smartphone campaigns, penetration of these devices among Azercell subscribers has reached over 74%, while the number of smartphone users is 3,9 million.
Azercell Business, which serves more than 12,000 legal entities to support the economy amid the strict lockdown due to the global pandemic, introduced an updated “My Business Web” solution that allows companies to create their own website without any additional investment simply within 3 days. Thanks to the convenient connection and communication opportunities for businesses with various devices, the number of data traffic users among Azercell business subscribers grew by 14% compared to last year. The company's corporate customer-focused activities increased the user base by 34% compared to the previous year by developing the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem in the country.
The company spent some USD 2,6 million on social projects in 2020, while total expenditure in this direction exceeded USD 21.8 million over 24 years.
Azercell attached particular importance to corporate social responsibility measures during the war.
Early in 2020, Azercell Telecom was selected by the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee as the Gold Partner of the Azerbaijan National Olympic and National Paralympic teams at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It should be noted that due to the global pandemic, the Olympic Games were postponed till 2021.
Azercell, as a proud partner of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the National Olympic Team, introduced the project #Qadın Dediyin in the face of female athletes in order to adequately reflect the importance of modern Azerbaijani women in society. The project was broadcast on social media and caused a wide public interest.
Mobile Eye and Mobile Dental Clinics, one of the company's most popular social projects, provided free check-ups for about 400 homeless, low-income and needy people in Baku and the regions during the year.
The Azerbaijan Children Hotline Service, established for more than 10 years, continued its activities during the social isolation with the support of Azercell, providing psychological assistance to a total of 6,657 children.
Focused the development of education, human capital and highly qualified personnel in the country, Azercell continued to support the scholarship program of ADA University and the organization of special training for teachers in computer science. The company has acted as a digital partner of the Fifth BookTrailer Festival. The 7th womENcourage international virtual meeting was held with the Digital Partnership of Azercell. Also, our schoolchildren trained with the support of Azercell in partnership with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan participated in prestigious competitions such as the 32nd International Olympiad in Informatics, the 16th International Zhautykov Olympiad, Asian Pacific Olympiad in Informatics, and the 12th International Autumn Tournament in Informatics and won 10 medals in various categories in 2020. Azercell supported the organization of master classes for young participants of the "Winter School" project of SABAH groups. On the occasion of the beginning of the new academic year, Azercell Telecom presented free codes for Busuu language learning app to 300 university entrants and children of martyrs who excelled in the exams, as well as tablets, free codes and scholarship to the entrants and children of martyrs who scored the highest points. At the same time, more than 100 children with special needs received free codes and mobile numbers to access the language learning app from Azercell.
Attaching special importance to the development of professional staff in the country, Azercell spent USD 700 000 on the development of human capital in 2020, and USD 26 million over 1996-2020. In the beginning of 2021, the company was awarded the highest level of accreditation - Platinum Certificate of the Investors in People (IIP) Standard as a mark of strong leadership, sustainable corporate culture and continuous development of people management practices. It is worth noting that Azercell is the first company in our country to receive a Platinum certificate, and the only entity in the CIS with this level of recognition.
Among its achievement in 2020, it should be mentioned that Azercell became a three-time winner of the prestigious STEVIE International Business Award. Thus, in 2020, the leading operator won the gold award as "Telecommunications Company of the Year" among hundreds of companies, and the bronze award in the nominations "The most innovative company of the year" and "The most valuable corporate responsibility company".
Moreover, Azercell's social project #QadınDediyin won a Silver and Bronze medals at the prestigious international Red Jolbors festival. Azercell also became the first mobile operator to be certified with ISO 37001:2016 – “Anti-bribery Management Systems” standard of compliance in the country.
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The leader of the mobile communication industry, the largest taxpayer and the biggest investor of the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan “Azercell Telecom” LLC was founded in 1996. Currently, 5 million subscribers choose Azercell services. Mobile operator controls 49% of market share; while its geographical coverage constitutes 89.3%; and population coverage 99.8%. Azercell is the only company in Azerbaijan and CIS region which has been awarded Platinum Certificate of International “Investors in People” Standard. The mobile operator is the only company in the country to receive the title of "Company of the Year" in the communication sector among hundreds of organizations in The World’s Premier Business STEVIE Awards. The company was ranked on the top in this nomination and won the Gold Stevie Award. Azercell was the pioneering mobile operator to introduce a number of innovations in Azerbaijan, including GSM technology, advance payment system, mobile internet services, 24/7 call center service (*1111), 7/7 Front Office service, Azercell Express offices, M2M services, 4G technology, mobile and online customer care services and customer services through social media, mobile e-signature service “ASAN Imza” etc. Azercell tested 5G pilot network for the first time in the country in the frame of “Bakutel 2019” exhibition. Rapidly increasing 4G network of Azercell covers nearly 60 regions of the country, including Baku and Absheron peninsula. According to the results of mobile network quality and wireless coverage mapping surveys by international systems, Azercell’s 4G network demonstrated the best results among the mobile operators of Azerbaijan.