Unfazed by controversy, TeliaSonera boosts its share of Kazakh mobile market

Jan 9, 2013
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Swedish mobile network operator TeliaSonera has taken another big bite into Kazakhstan’s telecommunications sector, spending $170 million on 4G technology for KCell, the country’s largest mobile provider, Total Telecom reports.

TeliaSonera acquired a 49 percent stake in KCell last year for $1.5 billion, later boosting its stake to around 60 percent, Radio Free Europe reports.

In a second recent deal, TeliaSonera agreed to pay $35 million for an unspecified stake in the fiber optic provider KazTransCom, according to Total Telecom.

The deals come following public criticism of the Swedish company over its dealings with Central Asian and other ex-Soviet governments.

Two TeliaSonera managers are under investigation after allegations the company got a foot in the Uzbek market by paying bribes to the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov of up to $250 million in 2007.

The company denies any wrongdoing.

TeliaSonera also allegedly sold surveillance equipment to half a dozen authoritarian ex-Soviet states.


Front page photo courtesy Wikimedia user Alton. Creative Commons

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Transitions Online

Transitions Online (www.tol.org) is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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