Amsterdam-headquartered operator group Veon pledged to invest through its Ukrainian subsidiary Kyivstar, US$600 million into its network over the next three years as the country continues its fight back against the Russian invasion.
Veon said in a statement, the investment will be used to cover 98% of the population with 4G by 2026, fibre infrastructure deployment, and eventually “5G-focused reconstruction”.
A part of the investment will be used to support the development of mobile services that enhance education, health and information dissemination. Veon noted it had invested in Ukrainian digital healthcare provider Helsi to enable digital healthcare services for Ukrainians.
The investment was announced at the international Ukraine Recovery Conference in London today (June 21).
Kyivstar CEO Oleksandr Komarov said: “Today’s sizeable investment commitment signifies not only a continuation of our track record but also an acceleration of our investments.
"At a time when many others are refraining from making future plans, we proudly commit to ‘building back better’ in partnership with public sector counterparts and other national and international stakeholders. We would like to invite other companies to invest with the same enthusiasm to contribute today to the future of Ukraine.”
Kyivstar has been working to maintain service for over 24.3 million mobile and 1.1 million fixed-line subscribers, stating 93% of its network is still operational.
During the invasion, Kyivstar carried out almost 150,000 repairs to its network - double the amount before hostilities from Russia. The operator reconnected 800 settlements, upgraded and deployed around 10,000 4G base stations and installed 32,000 new batteries to ensure continuity of communication during energy black-outs.
It worked with rival operators to launch a roaming scheme to keep 2.5 million mobile customers overseas connected and share infrastructure as well as providing free WiFi to shelters and new settlements.