TeliaSonera has increased its ownership in UCell from 74% to 94% by acquiring 20% of the shares in the jointly owned TeliaSonera Uzbek Telecom Holding from Takilant. TeliaSonera will pay approximately SEK1.55 billion (USD220 million) for the shares. TeliaSonera Uzbek Telecom Holding is a Dutch holding company owning 100% of UCell. ‘This transaction underlines TeliaSonera’s strategy to increase ownership in core holdings. With a young and large population, relatively low mobile penetration and expanding economy, Uzbekistan continues to provide a valuable opportunity for growth. We are committed to continue investing in the future development of the telecommunication infrastructure and services in the country’ said Tero Kivisaari, President of TeliaSonera Eurasia.
UCell is Uzbekistan’s second largest mobile operator with 4.76 million subscribers and a market share of approximately 30.6% as of September 2009, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database.