MTS to sue to uphold Bitel rights

6 Jul 2006

MTS and its parent AFK Sistema have announced that they are seeking a legal ruling to uphold its ownership rights to Kyrgyz wireless operator Bitel. MTS claims in December 2005 it completed a USD150 million deal to acquire a 51% stake in the cellco, via a holding company called Tarino. However the acquisition was later challenged by Reservspetsmet, a company with links to Russia’s Alfa Group, which claimed it had made a deal to buy the company the previous May. In December 2005 the Supreme Court of Kyrgystan denied MTS’ rights. Earlier this week Bitel announced it had sold its GSM network to Sky Mobile, a company owned by Altimo, itself the wireless arm of Alfa.