Minnows attempt to void Tele2 licences

15 Nov 2011

Two Russian regional mobile operators – Strimton and Geocom – have filed a lawsuit with the Moscow Arbitration Court, with a view to cancelling five 1800MHz GSM licences held by Tele2, covering 18 regions of the country. Vedomosti reports that the legal action relates to an incident in March 2010, when Tele2 accepted that it had not fulfilled its rollout requirements for the licences, which were awarded to regional subsidiaries St. Petersburg Telecom, Kemerovo Mobile Communication, Cellular Udmurtia, Votek Mobile and Smolensk Cellular Communications in 2007. Tele2 went on to settle the matter with the State Radio Frequency Commission (SRFC), and no further action was taken. However, Strimton and Geocom now claim that around half of the 18 regions have still not achieved regulatory approval for the construction of base transceiver stations (BTS), with commercial services currently available in just four.

Both plaintiffs – which are said to be owned by St. Petersburg-based real estate holding company Jensen Group – are vying to have the SRFC settlement overturned. For its part, Tele2 has said that whilst it has not seen details of the lawsuit, it noted that the action was filed after the statute of limitations had expired, effectively rendering the legal challenge meaningless.