MTS negotiates on return to Uzbek market
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, May 1, 2014
By Demir Azizov- Trend:
Russian "Mobile TeleSystems" OJSC can return to the Uzbek market of mobile communication in 2014, a source in the Uzbek government circles told Trend.
High-level negotiations have been held on the terms of the operator's return to the Uzbek market since the beginning of the year, the source said.
The source noted that the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes of the World Bank (ICSID, Washington) has suspended proceedings on the MTS company`s lawsuit against Uzbekistan regarding the decision of the parties to resolve the conflict out of court last week.
MTS`s lawsuit for recovery of damages was recorded on November 15, 2012, and the tribunal was formed on August 2013. The first hearing took place in November. On April 22, the tribunal suspended the proceedings "in accordance with the agreement of the parties," according to the ICSID materials.
The MTS suspended activity in Uzbekistan in 2012, after the local authorities raised many claims, and "Uzdunrobita" (a subsidiary of MTS Uzbekistan) was declared bankrupt.
Two rounds of auctions were held on July, 2013 on the sale of both company's assets with starting price of $288 million, and property of 14 regional branches- total starting price of $ 224 million. All auctions were invalidated due to a lack of bids.
In late 2013 the property of "Uzdunrobita", including manufacturing equipment was transferred to the custody of JSC "Uzbektelecom" - monopoly fixed-line operator in Uzbekistan.
The network of the cellular operator was kept in working order and can be running in a short time, according to the "Uzbektelecom".
Before leaving the market "Uzdunrobita" was the leading mobile operator in the Uzbek market with a customer base of more than nine million subscribers.
Uzbekistan currently has four mobile operators- "Unitel" (" daughter" of the Russian " VimpelCom " brand "Beeline"), "Coscom" ( daughter of the Scandinavian "TeliaSonera", trademark "Usell"), working in standard GSM, and JV "Rubicon Wireless Communications" (RWC, trademark "Perfectum Mobile") and "Uzbektelekom Mobile" ( Uzmobile ) - branch of JSC "Uzbektelecom " working in standard CDMA. The number of mobile subscribers is about 25 million.
Translated by S.I.
Edited by C.N.