New Uzbek mobile operator signs up nearly 0.9mn users

By bne IntelliNews November 20, 2015

The subscriber base of Universal Mobile Systems (UMS), a joint venture between the Uzbek government and Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), reached 870,600 in the first nine months of 2015.

The number of subscribers increased by 362% since the beginning of the year. The mobile operator, which started operations in December 2014, had 188,100 subscribers at the end of 2014.

The company’s market share increased from 1% in 2014 to 4.2% by the end of September.

It increased sales to UZS54.4bn (€8.33mn at the black exchange market) in the third quarter from UZS37.2bn in the second quarter. It incurred operating losses to the tune of UZS57.1bn and net losses worth UZS28.7bn in the third quarter.

OIBDA stood at minus UZS5.5bn. MTS expects positive OIBDA in 2016.

The average traffic per user increased from 530 minutes in the third quarter from 462 minutes in the second quarter and the average revenue per user to UZS23,976 from UZS23,370 respectively.

The joint venture was set up on the basis of equipment and infrastructure of Uzdunrobita, MTS’s Uzbek subsidiary the government seized in 2012 after it brought tax avoidance claims to the tune of $600mn.

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