Skylink to invest USD100 million in 2006

19 Dec 2005

Russian regional mobile group Skylink, which provides services in the Moscow Licensed Area (MLA) and St Petersburg, plans to invest USD100 million in its CDMA infrastructure in 2006, including USD15 million on the roll out of CDMA 1xEV-DO services. Owned by local giants Sistema and TelecomInvest, Skylink has a very minor share of the national cellular market (less than 0.1% at mid-2005), but a strong foothold in its home territories. In September 2005 regulator GosSviazNadzor issued it with two temporary operating concessions for trial and commercial 3G services in the 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz frequencies. The licences were eventually granted to Delta Telecom, Skylink’s operator in St Petersburg and Leningrad, and Moscow Cellular Communications (MCC), its MLA business. Both cellcos have since launched 1xEV-DO services under the Sky Turbo banner. The duration of Skylink’s 3G concessions are not yet known, but the regulator has specified it must provide a report on the trial after twelve months, the results of which are expected to be used to set the terms and conditions of the future 3G auctions.