VimpelCom plans Uzbek expansion

By bne IntelliNews August 16, 2012

Clare Nuttall in Almaty -

Russian telecoms operator VimpelCom is gearing up to expand in Uzbekistan, to take advantage of the revocation of the operating licences of rival Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).

Speaking during an investor conference call on August 15, Vimpelcom CEO Jo Lunder said the company has already acquired more subscribers in Uzbekistan. "We are seeing an increase in our subscriber base, it's pretty obvious,"he said, according to Bloomberg. "We think there are opportunities there now and we want to take advantage of that."

MTS's Uzbekistan subsidiary Uzdunrobita had its operating licence suspended for 10 days on July 17. The close down was then extended for a further three months, before the Tashkent commercial court backed an application from the State Communications Inspectorate to revoke all Uzdunrobita's licences on August 13.

Immediately following the initial suspension, reports emerged from Uzbekistan of chaos at mobile telecoms shops across the country, as MTS's 9.5m subscribers queued to buy new sim cards, mainly for Vimpelcom's Beeline and TeliaSonera's Ucell networks.

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