Ukraine’s dominant fixed line operator Ukrtelecom has announced that it has lost operational control of its network in the eastern separatist rebel-held areas of Donetsk city and the surrounding region after ‘unidentified’ armed men took over its regional headquarters. The telco’s parent conglomerate SCM Group issued a statement confirming that from 1 March Ukrtelecom has been forced to terminate all telecoms services in non-government controlled Donetsk territory. As reported by BizLiga, the company added that it has lost the ability to centrally manage the technical equipment in the region, causing the loss of fixed voice and internet services for ‘almost 200,000 people’.
Similarly, following previous reports of a hostile takeover of Ukrainian mobile operator Lifecell’s Donetsk operations, the Turkcell-backed company this week confirmed that its network equipment serving Donetsk territory occupied by pro-Russian rebels has been seized ‘by unidentified persons’. Lifecell stated that it has involuntarily terminated mobile services in the affected region, as from 22 February the ‘standalone’ network equipment operating in non-government controlled areas was ‘blocked’. Note that in another eastern city/region, Luhansk, Lifecell has not provided services in rebel-held territory for over a year.