According to business news agency PrimeTass, Russian national operator Rostelecom has disclosed new plans to finalise a previously-rumoured approach to acquire sister company SkyLink, from the pair’s parent Svyazinvest. CDMA operator SkyLink launched GSM services in 45 regions in December 2010, and went on to receive permission to roll out a W-CDMA network in March 2011. Rostelecom president Alexander Provotorov commented: ‘We expect the deal to be signed by the end of this year; the deal may be concluded by the beginning of next year’. According to PrimeTass, Rostelecom needs to obtain antitrust approval in order to complete the deal.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May 2011 Rostelecom expressed plans to acquire SkyLink, with a view to merging it with its other mobile assets, as acquired through its so-called ‘mega-regional merger’, which closed in April 2011. At the time Provotorov commented: ‘Scenarios of the transaction are still being worked out. We have different mechanisms that can be used for this purpose. The final decision on the scheme has not yet been decided’. SkyLink holds frequency rights in the 450MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz bands, covering 96% of the Russian population.