Veon to invest another US$1 billion in Ukraine’s Kyivstar

Veon to invest another US$1 billion in Ukraine’s Kyivstar

Global digital operator Veon announced on Monday it is will invest an additional US$1 billion between 2023 and 2027 to help its Ukrainian subsidiary Kyivstar rebuild the country’s digital infrastructure as the Russian invasion continues.

The investment is on top of the US$600 million over three years that Veon pledged to invest in Kyivstar in June 2023.

Veon said the latest commitment will fund investments into network and digital services, “including potential acquisitions or the development of new assets, social contributions and partnerships.”

Kyivstar CEO Oleksandr Komarov said he hoped the increased investment – which was revealed ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024 in Berlin later this week –will inspire other attendees at the conference to invest in the country’s recovery effort even as the war continues.

“Kyivstar is a significant example of how a socially responsible business with international investors can support a country through war,” Komarov said in a statement. “With the power we take from our own example, we will join the call at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024 for businesses to invest in Ukraine and invest now.”

Veon also highlighted Kyivstar’s progress in investing in digital infrastructure, starting with the fact that it has built 1,895 new LTE base stations and upgraded around 13,200 existing base stations to 4G since February 2022. Kyivstar has also added over 4,100 residential areas to its 4G coverage footprint, extending overall coverage to  95% of the population of territories controlled by Ukraine. The operator is aiming for 98% population coverage in 4G over the next two years.

The telco said it has invested around US$27.4 million in Ukraine’s energy resilience, installing over 2,300 generators and 113,000 batteries to help keep its network running and customers connected, even when the power infrastructure is under attack.

Kyivstar is also investing in Open RAN technology, having signed a leter of intent with Rakuten Symphony earlier this year to deploy its Open RAN technology for both 4G and 5G.

Kyivstar also invested in Ukraine’s digital healthcare platform Helsi in August 2022, which it says had 2.5 million monthly active users on web and OTT platforms as of March 2024, serving close to 1,600 medical institutions and 38,000 medical professionals.

Other investments include TV application Kyivstar TV, integration with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and continued rollout of its GPON network, which is due to be expanded to seven new cities in 2024.

Last month, Komarov said Kyivstar had allocated US$90 million to defend against suspected Russian cyberattacks against its network, as well as to recover from the massive cyberattack in December 2023 that damaged Kyivstar’s networks and cut mobile signal for millions of Ukrainians. Komarov claimed the cyberattack ate up about 3% of annual growth for the telco.

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