MTS Returns to Uzbekistan

The Government of Uzbekistan adopted decision on resumption of operations of Russian mobile operator MTS in Uzbekistan, according to State Committee for Communication, Information and Telecommunication Technologies of Uzbekistan.

The Government adopted a resolution, which says that the State Committee for Communication, Information and Telecommunication Technologies of Uzbekistan and MTS will create joint venture, which will work under MTS brand. The stake of the sides in the venture was not disclosed.

Earlier, head of AFK Systema (owner of MTS) Vladimir Yevtushenkov said the Russian side will control the venture.

In July 2012, the wholly-owned subsidiary of MTS, Uzdunrobita, had its license withdrawn initially for 10 days and then permanently due to repeated and systematic major violations, with the way their cellular network was designed and noncompliance with the instructions of the controlling body. Later the license was withdrawn and local economic court supported the withdrawal.

Several employees of Uzdunrobita were fined and sentenced for correctional works for schemes, created for receiving illegal income. Assets of the company were handed over to the government, but the court abolished decision and said the operator should pay US$600 million of fines and penalties.

Tashkent Economic Court recognized FE LLC Uzdunrobita, a 100% subsidiary of Russia’s MTS in Uzbekistan, as bankrupt on 22 April 2013.

MTS said the claims against Uzdunrobita are unfounded. In May 2013, it was announced that MTS submitted suit against Uzbekistan to ICSID and the case was accepted by the Center. The case was suspended as the sides reached agreement.

In December 2013, assets of Uzdunrobita were handed over to balance of Uzbektelecom, national communication operator of Uzbekistan, without right to use them.

Currently, Unitel (subsidiary of Vimpelcom), Coscom (subsidiary of TeliaSonera), Rubicon Wireless Communications (RWC, Perfectum Mobile brand) and Uzbektelecom Mobile (branch of Uzbektelecom) operate in mobile communication market of Uzbekistan.

 

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