(Adds details, background)
ALMATY May 15 Uzbekistan's Unitel said on
Monday it had filed a lawsuit in a local court challenging plans
by the country's regulator to strip the subsidiary of
Amsterdam-based mobile network operator Veon Ltd of
nearly half of its frequency band.
"The withdrawal of 47 percent of (our) frequency band is an
unprecedented and extremely unfriendly move by the regulator,"
CEO Dmitry Shukov said in a statement.
Uzbekistan's telecommunications regulator said on Saturday
it would redistribute frequencies among the Central Asian
nation's four mobile operators so that each would have the same
band of 24.8 MHz, in order to facilitate the development of
Unitel, which has 48.8 MHz and is the former Soviet
republic's biggest mobile operator, said the move would cost it
over $50 million and violated an agreement signed last summer in
which frequency bands were assigned until 2031.
Set up in Russia 24 years ago, Vimpelcom is dominated by
LetterOne, the investment vehicle of Russian billionaire Mikhail
Fridman. It has operations in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central
With more than 200 million customers, it is also active in
markets including Italy, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Laos.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Andrey Ostroukh and