Russia’s MTS has begun the deconstruction of its network infrastructure in Turkmenistan after failing to reach a settlement with the country’s authorities.
Eurasianet reported that the operator group had started dismantling its network in December and expected the process to take several months. The group has filed a legal case in a bid to recover $750 million in lost investment funds.
MTS’ involvement in Turkmenistan has been marked by clashes with the country’s government and other state-owned organisations. The operator suspended its services in 2010 after a dispute with regulators over licensing, and resumed normal operations in 2012.
However, this was not the end of its difficulties in the market, and MTS again discontinued its services in September 2017. The operator claimed that state-owned Turkmentelekom had barred it from accessing third-party international and long-distance zonal communication services, forcing it out of the market.
With MTS exiting the market, Turkmentelekom – branded as TMCell – is now the country’s sole operator. When it closed operations in 2017, MTS had 1.7 million subscribers in Turkmenistan.