Business News Europe writes that the customers of Russian-backed cellco Beeline are reporting service failures throughout Uzbekistan. Local news sources noted earlier this month that Beeline users were experiencing connection difficulties, with no signal for 2G or 3G services outside the capital, Tashkent. Speculation was rife that the cellco was facing similar pressure from authorities that saw MTS Uzbekistan – another Russian-owned cellco – suspend services in June last year before closing down shortly afterwards. Whilst Beeline has been quiet on the matter, it has also been suggested that the Vimpelcom subsidiary is simply struggling to meet the sudden increase in demand in wake of MTS’s demise. Until its closure in June 2012, MTS Uzbekistan was the nation’s largest cellco by subscribers, claiming more than nine million users at mid-2012. In the six months following the shut-down of MTS, Beeline scooped up the lion’s share of disconnected customers, signing up 3.16 million net new users.
In related news, the Tashkent Economic Court has recognised MTS Uzbekistan as bankrupt. The cellco filed for bankruptcy in January 2013 after failing to pay fines totalling USD600 million for a list of alleged crimes including tax evasion and money laundering.