Timeframe for new mobile operator joint venture with MTS announced in Uzbekistan

Business Materials 5 August 2014 14:34 (UTC +04:00)

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, August 5
By Demir Azizov- Trend:

The Uzbek Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a resolution in accordance with the timeframe establishing a joint venture (JV) with the Russian "Mobile TeleSystems" (MTS) JSC and start of work of the mobile operator, a source in government circles of Uzbekistan told Trend.

The creation of "Universal Mobile Systems" JV (UMS) is scheduled for August 15, and the deadline for registration of joint ventures is September 25, 2014, according to the source.

The technical input of UMS network is scheduled for October 1, and the commercial launch - for December 1, 2014, the decree said.

As reported earlier, Russian mobile operator MTS has signed a settlement agreement with Uzbekistan on July 31, providing the establishment of joint venture in which the operator will receive 50.01 percent, and the remaining 49.99 percent will belong to a state-owned unitary enterprise established and managed by the Uzbek State committee for communications, development of information systems and telecommunications technologies.

Furthermore, the joint venture will receive property, equipment and infrastructure, formerly owned by MTS`s "daughter" - "Uzdunrobita". Uzbek authorities will provide the new operator with 2G/3G/LTE license, necessary frequency rate, provide rental of communication channels, will give all the permissions required to work in full capacity.
It is assumed that the new operating company will operate under the brand name of MTS.

As reported earlier, in 2012, a subsidiary of MTS - "Uzdunrobita" LLC, the leading operator in the Uzbek market with a customer base of more than nine million subscribers, has been deprived of licenses.

In January 2013, "Uzdunrobita" filed for bankruptcy amid widespread claims by the Uzbek authorities. The total amount of claims against the company by the General Prosecutor's Office, antitrust authorities, the Agency for Communication and Information and tax authorities was determined in the amount of $600 million.

Tashkent Economic Court declared the company bankrupt, by filing liquidation proceedings against it. 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 with a 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" without the right of using.

Uzbekistan currently has four mobile operators- "Unitel" LLC (" daughter" of the Russian " VimpelCom " "Beeline" trademark), "Coscom" LLC( daughter of the Scandinavian "TeliaSonera", "Usell" trademark), working in standard GSM, and JV "Rubicon Wireless Communications" (RWC, "Perfectum Mobile" trademark) and "Uzbektelekom Mobile" (Uzmobile) - branch of "Uzbektelecom " JSC working on CDMA standard. The number of mobile subscribers is about 25 million.

Edited by CN