MTS under fire for quality of service, may have licence revoked

26 Jun 2012

Uzbekistan’s communication watchdog has warned Russian-backed cellco MTS Uzbekistan that it may revoke its operating licence, reports the Moscow Times. The regulator, the Uzbekistan Agency for Communications and Information (UzACI), cited poor quality of service as the reason for the cancellation, though the operator is also currently under investigation for fraud – its director Bekhzod Akhmedov having reportedly fled the country – and does not have authorisation for its 48 base transceiver stations (BTS). A spokesperson for the embattled cellco said that it saw no reason for the licence to be withdrawn, adding in reference to the BTS: ‘MTS has submitted documentation for most of those [BTS] installed, the documentation is currently being processed in accordance with the local regulations, but the procedure takes time.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MTS had signed up 9.53 million subscribers at end-March 2012 representing 37.6% of the market and making it the largest cellco by subscribers. Nevertheless, the operator booked a net loss of USD2.1 million for the period, despite seeing a 5% year-on-year increase in revenues to USD115.7 million.