Swedish technology giant Ericsson and Ukraine’s mobile market leader Kyivstar yesterday signed a three-year GSM network expansion agreement. Under the deal, Ericsson will provide equipment including GSM/GPRS and EDGE technologies to help Kyivstar make the transition to 3G services when UMTS licences are eventually made available in Ukraine. The value and the terms of the contract were not disclosed.
In early 2005 Kyivstar, its close rival Ukrainian Mobile Communications (UMC), and national fixed line operator Ukrtelekom all applied for UMTS concessions. On 1 December Ukrtelekom was awarded a combined GSM/W-CDMA licence whilst the other two were left empty handed. The government justified the move by claiming it was expanding the competitive environment with a view to reducing prices for consumers. However, GlobalComms suggests that the motivation for the award was to make the state-owned telco more desirable to investors ahead of its planned privatisation.