KTK Telecom, operating under the Volna Mobile brand, has launched the fourth GSM mobile network service in the Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula (Republic of Crimea and Federal City of Sevastopol), Tdaily reports. Volna Mobile already offers voice and mobile data for 2G, 3G and 4G users in Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol, with 3G/4G planned for southern parts of Crimea – Yevpatoria, Kerch, Feodosia and other locations – by September 2016, whilst by the end of the year it intends to cover the entire peninsula with 2G/3G. National roaming talks are ongoing with major Russian operators, and roaming tests have begun. General Director of KTK Telecom, Dmitry Klimenko, was quoted as saying that the Volna Mobile launch involved investment of ‘hundreds of millions of rubles’, whilst the company’s 50 employees would be significantly increased by the year-end. KTK Telecom was registered in Moscow in September 2014, and TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that it received its operating licences for the Crimean peninsula in December 2014, including regional GSM frequencies reallocated from Ukrainian operator Lifecell.
Between August 2014 and February 2016 Crimea had only one GSM mobile operator – K-Telecom (WIN Mobile) – although GlobalComms notes that the region was also served by the Intertelecom CDMA mobile service (after the leading Ukrainian CDMA mobile operator Intertelecom officially transferred its operations in the peninsula to a Russian company, International Telecommunications, using the Intertelecom brand, in October 2014). In February 2016 KrymTelekom (owned by the Republic of Crimea’s communications ministry) and Sevtelecom launched their respective mobile services in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.