Turkish mobile group Turkcell has secured a long term financing arrangement for its 51% owned Ukrainian cellco Astelit. The operator, which launched GSM services under the brand name life:) in January 2005, has signed a mandate letter with ING Bank and Standard Bank London to arrange the USD280 million six-year syndicated loan. Astelit will use the funds to repay existing debts and provide for additional capital expenditure. The financing is expected to be finalised in the third quarter.
Astelit was established in 1995 in Donetsk under the guise of DCC and has been offering a D-AMPS service on a TDMA-based network in the 800MHz band since 1996. The cellco holds licences for cellular, long-distance and international communications, and its networks cover the capital Kiev, Donetsk and the surrounding area, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Odessa, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Crimea.