Ukraine’s National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR or NKRZI) reported in the minutes of its meeting of 15 October that it has registered the details of a start-up telecoms firm, Fidomobayl. According to Interfax Ukraine the new company is an affiliate of the Fidobankom (Kiev) bank owned by Alexander Adaric, and is positioning itself as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). The company aims to offer mobile internet and voice services, although it says that it is still in the process of securing the required nationwide operating licences, while it has not yet announced an agreement with a mobile network operator to facilitate its service. TeleGeography says that Ukraine’s MVNO market is underdeveloped, largely because the virtual operator brand segment was previously dominated by the wholly owned sub-brands of the two largest cellcos, Kyivstar and MTS. However, Kyivstar has recently followed MTS’s lead in abandoning user segmentation strategies in favour of uniting all network customers under single tariffs and one central company brand name, therefore offering a potential gap in the market to be exploited by new independent MVNO entrants, although they will need the backup of the regulator if they face opposition from the main players in opening network access. The research firm cites a precedent to Fidobankom’s planned venture, namely MVNO Privatmobile which was launched in January 2005 by Privatbank over the URS (Beeline) network, now part of Kyivstar, but the independent operation was short-lived, being bought by its network host in March 2007.
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