“Telecom market in Uzbekistan is developing faster than in most of the world’s countries, and the launch of the LTE network by Beeline is another confirmation of this,” CEO of Unitel Andrei Safronyuk told reporters on Wednesday.
This is the third mobile phone operator in Uzbekistan which launched network of the fourth generation.
It was reported earlier that in July, 2010 two operators — Uzdunrobita, which is subsidiary of the Russian MTS and Coscom, subsidiary of TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan launched 4G network on the basis of LTE technology in Tashkent.
Mr Safronyuk said Unitel in early spring will be ready to announce the start of commercial operation of the network in the center of Tashkent, in the future it is planned to gradually expand it in the capital of Uzbekistan, and then — all over the country.
In November 2011 the Uzbek Agency for Communication and Information (UzACI) issued to Unitel a permission to use the available frequency range of the company to build a network of LTE. The Chinese Huawei Technologies provided equipment for the LTE network, Mr Safronyuk said.
In 2012, the company will invest in the development and modernisation of the mobile network in Uzbekistan $63 million which will be spent also on the extension of the LTE network in the country.
In 2006 VimpelCom completed the acquisition of Unitel — the second largest mobile operator in Uzbekistan (GSM-900-1800) from the international consortium led by the Greek Germanos SA The cost of the deal — $200 million plus assumption of debt of approximately $ 7.7 million.
In addition, in 2006 VimpelCom also acquired the Bakri Uzbekistan Telecom (“Buztel”) operator — the fourth-largest mobile phone operator in the GSM standard. The cost of this deal was $60 million plus assumption of debt of approximately $2.4 million.
Also in 2006 VimpelCom completed integration of networks of Unitel and Buztel companies. As a result of the reorganisation Buztel became part of Unitel.
In March 2009 Unitel and JV Buzto, a subsidiary of Golden Telecom, the fixed network operator in Uzbekistan, started to provide commercial services under a single brand “Beeline”.
In December 2008 Unitel launched in Tashkent in the commercial operation services on the basis of the first 3G mobile network in Uzbekistan, supporting HSPA (High Speed Packet Access — a high-speed packet data) protocol. Currently, the network is launched in 130 cities of the country.