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TeliaSonera Makes Big Play in Kazakhstan Mobile Internet Market

TeliaSonera has agreements in place to buy significant fibre and WiMAX operations in Kazakhstan. Observers indicate that the operator may be looking to divert the 2.5/2.6Ghz spectrum from WiMAX to other uses, like LTE. The firm already owns major Kazakh operator Kcell, which holds an HSPA+ licence.

While the purchase of WiMAX operator Alem and its spectrum concession indicates a major investment in consumer-orientated services, TeliaSonera is also in the process of arranging to invest in KazTransCom, which owns a nationwide fibre network among other assets. TeliaSonera may be looking to manage leasing costs associated with backhaul by investing in fibre.

Both of TeliaSonera’s buys are subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition of Alem has been valued at US$170million, while the investment in KazTransCom has been valued at US$35million.

Tero Kivisaari, President of Eurasia at TeliaSonera, said these transactions, “will be crucial for Kcell’s continued leadership in the rapidly growing mobile data sector and reaffirm our strategic commitment to developing mobile technologies and services in Kazakhstan. The investment in, and agreement with, KazTransCom would also secure further backbone capacity for Kcell at competitive prices for the years to come.”

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