Russian operator MTS has taken legal action against the state of Turkmenistan in an attempt to recoup funds that it invested in the market prior to its “forced” suspension of operations last year.
According to Reuters, the Russian firm claims that in September 2017 the state-owned Turkmentelecom cut off MTS’ access to “international and long-distance zonal communication services and internet access”.
MTS maintains that the responsibility for this lies with the government of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Communications, and certain other state-run bodies. The operator group claims that as a result of these actions, which violate an agreement signed between Russia and Turkmenistan in 2009, it has incurred losses of at least $750 million.
The Russian firm stated that it first raised an objection the suspension of services six months ago, and has attempted to agree a solution with the state of Turkmenistan ever since. However, since these overtures have not succeeded, it has brought an arbitration request to the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
MTS has had issues in Turkmenistan previously, having left the market in 2010 after losing $140 million to a licensing dispute with regulators that it claimed was “never fully justified”. It returned to the market two years later.